Paid sick time vs worked time for overtime calculation

Our company has always paid exempt and non-exempt employees' sick days. We have a small percentage of non-exempt that will call in sick on a weekday then work a Saturday to "catch-up". Our accounting department uses the unworked hours paid towards calculation of overtime. Is this a common procedure? Is it legally required?


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  • We have a very clear policy for FLSA non-exempt employees of overtime paid over 40 actual hours worked. Therefore paid sick, vacation, holiday hours do not count toward the 40 hour threshold. This is the least an employer can do. If you so choose you may use the non-worked paid sick leave toward the 40 hour threshold. A clear, communicated policy is necessary.

  • In general, the FLSA only requires employers to pay overtime when employees actually work more than 40 hours in a given week. My understanding of your situation is that employees are being paid overtime if the combined total of hours worked plus paid leave time taken in a given week exceeds 40 hours. That is not legally required under the FLSA. I don't know whether it might be required under state law, but I doubt it.

    As to whether it is a common practice, I wouldn't think that many businesses would be willing to pay employees overtime when they're not required to.

    Julie Athey
    Senior Attorney Editor
    M. Lee Smith Publishers

  • When our employees ask to work on the weekend they are usually trying to "catch up" on their paid hours to preclude being charged leave. Catching up on their workload is often a secondary issue.

  • Here in TX at least, I can tell you that generally speaking, OT is required only after 40 ACTUAL hours worked. My employer however does include the use of accrued benefit time into those calculations. That is a choice however, not a regulation.

    - Dawn

  • Thanks for your response. In a downturning economy, every department in our organization is to provide a cost-saving measure and this may be mine.

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