Exempt and time off...

I know this sure gets discussed alot and just about the time I think I have it figured out, something else comes up. Clarification is needed please.

For exempt employees: We have a verified paid sick day policy for them. I know that if they call in more then the 5 days we allow them, we can deduct a full days wage.

Now: What if they just come in later to work that day because they are not feeling well in the morning? I thought we could not deduct hours from their PTO bucket since that would be treating them like a non-exempt emp. Now I am being told that may not be true??

Would this also apply to vacation hours - do we only deduct full-days, or can we deduct a few hours?

Assistance Please.... and appreciated.



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  • [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 09-20-07 AT 07:28AM (CST)[/font][br][br]See the following excerpt from [url]www.flsa.com/coverage.html:[/url]

    "employers may "dock" the base pay of salary basis employees in full day increments, for disciplinary suspensions, or for personal leave, or for sickness under a bona fide sick leave plan (as for example if the employee has run out of accrued sick leave)."

    The key above is "full day increments." Hope that answers your question.
  • Can not open website. Do you have a better address?
  • Very strange! I wonder what happend - I couldn't open it either. In any case, here's an excerpt from DOL saying the same thing:


    "Circumstances in Which the Employer May Make Deductions from Pay

    Deductions from pay are permissible when an exempt employee: is absent from work for one or more full days for personal reasons other than sickness or disability; for absences of one or more full days due to sickness or disability if the deduction is made in accordance with a bona fide plan, policy or practice of providing compensation for salary lost due to illness; to offset amounts employees receive as jury or witness fees, or for military pay; for penalties imposed in good faith for infractions of safety rules of major significance; or for unpaid disciplinary suspensions of one or more full days imposed in good faith for workplace conduct rule infractions. Also, an employer is not required to pay the full salary in the initial or terminal week of employment, or for weeks in which an exempt employee takes unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act."

  • You may require employees to use accrued leave for absences of less than a day. By using the leave the employee is remaining in fully paid status and, therefore, has not been docked. However, if the employee has exhausted her/his leave banks, then you may not dock the pay.
  • David, I am only aware of the FSLA regulations that say we can not use time for less than a full day for an exempt employee. Do you have a reference source for your information? It's just different than what I have been reading.
  • The DOL does not tell us we can or cannot charge leave banks for exempt; only that we cannot DOCK PAY for partial days (except for FMLA). Whether you do it or not depends upon your policies.

    Many companies do not charge leave banks for partial day absences for exempt employees. In the past, many did not due to fear of the DOL saying you were treating your exempt as hourly so therefore they must be paid that way (and thus you would have to pay them overtime). I think that attitude has relaxed somewhat in recent years, especially after the new guidelines came out in 2005. More and more companies are saying they charge leave banks for partial day absences, especially if the exempt employee is gone more than half a day.

    We do not charge leave banks for our exempt employees if they are here for at least 15 minutes. I can't remember why we chose 15 minutes, but that is where the line is drawn. If an exempt employee is having a day off and runs in for a minute, they must be out of here within 15 minutes or we do not charge their leave bank for that day. Our management feels that exempt employees put in plenty of extra time when the work load requires it. Flexibility to take off here and there is a perk we consider a fair exchange for the times they have to do the extra work and put in the extra time.

    Good luck!

  • This issue was covered in the March 2005 Oklahoma Employment Law Letter. TKessler, is that archived letter available for everyone to view?
  • >This issue was covered in the March 2005
    >Oklahoma Employment Law Letter. TKessler, is
    >that archived letter available for everyone to

    Archives of all the state Employment Law Letters are available to all subscribers. You can find that Oklahoma article and many other articles on the subject by logging into the Subscribers Area and doing a search.

    Tammy Binford
    Editor, M. Lee Smith Publishers
  • Let me preface my response by saying that I work for a public sector employer. As such, we have an obligation to be good stewards of the public's resources. We cannot "make a gift" of those resources (wages) without a legal basis to do so.

    At my last employer (also public sector) the question arose in the context of employees reporting late or leaving early due to inclement weather. There was disagreement among those of us involved in the decision as to whether we could require employees to use their leave. We contacted the federal DOL and our state wage & hour agency. We, initially, received conflicting direction; but eventually, our state agency agreed with DOL. DOL's response was that an employer can require an exempt employee to use leave for the absence of less than a day. As I noted in my original response, by requiring the employee to use leave, the employee is receiving full pay and, thus, is not being docked.

    Having said all of this, it is a policy decision as to whether you require employees to use leave. Being in the public sector, the decision was made that we would require employees to use leave. However, the reality is that in other than inclement weather type situations which impact all employees, supervisors have the discretion to allow exempt employees to be absent for minor periods of time without charging it to leave.
  • You most certainly can charge someone's PTO or leave bank in whatever increments you want. Just follow your own policy. It DOES NOT jeopardize someone's exempt status.

    DoL doesn't care what "bucket" of money an employee is paid from, just that they receive their regular salary.
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