Salaried Exempt Employee - FMLA questions

This question spans two threads - but I'll put it into one.

We recently had a DOL speaker who has confused the pants off us.

Our two situations:
Salaried exempt employee who will qualify for FMLA, will exhaust her paid leave about 10 weeks into the FMLA. The remaining two weeks should be unpaid. Correct?

Salaried exempt employee who is currently using an intermittent FMLA to care for her daughter. She will exhaust paid time very soon. So, in the future, we can dock her the occasional FULL day here and there until the new year when she will have leave available. Correct?

The DOL speaker indicated that 1) we can't touch an exempt person's pay under FMLA regardless of any paid time out there (or lack thereof) and 2) that it must be more than one day's absence for us to dock pay.



  • 10 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • My understanding of the FLSA is that FMLA absences are one of only a couple of instances wherein an employee CAN be docked pay. Check out the DOL website - [url][/url] to get more information.
  • We did check this website out and feel that we understand how to dock due to FMLA and FLSA. However, the DOL speaker said that we can't.

    Did the government not hire quality people to come out and talk?
  • I'm from the governement and I am here to help you! Says it all.
  • Being a local public sector HR employee, I don't think it is fair to make the statement "Neveradull" posted. Where do you think public sector employees come from? They are neither generally better nor worse than HR private sector employees. Each one has to be taken individually. I come across almost daily, the misstatements of private sector HR to the same extent that they are made by public sector. No better. No worse.

    Regarding the last question, you may dock the the full day's absence for the employee to care for her child even if she weren't on FMLA. And since, the reason for a full day's absence is not due to the employee's illness or injury, it would be considered a "personal reason" and you could dock it even if the company had no compensation reimbursement -- e.g., PTO or vacation, or even paid personal time -- at all.

    Finally, I assume that the emplyee is not absent under FMLA on a partial day basis (since you haven't mentioned that). If she is, you may dock that partial day absence without loss of exempt status.

  • I apologize if I offended. Just a brief attempt at humor and recording the first thing that entered my mind. Having worked on both sides I agree with everything you said.

  • That's okay Neveradull...I was ticked off that day. It seems that When I finally went to the lobby to help the citizen who came to my government office, she had already left after waiting for 4 hours...I was upset that I had to stop my competer poker game to go and help her and she didn't have the courtesy to wait the mandatory 5 hours. I found out later she had come in to get the paperwork so that she could go to the hospital because she was in pain from two broken legs and internal bleeding. The nerve of some people!! Geeeeeeeeeeez!!!!
  • I was a government employee for 25 years. Then I retired and got a real job.
  • Zanne: The DOL speaker was mistaken. FMLA is one of the few times you can track a salaried person's time and dock by the hour, if necessary. This is how intermittent FMLA is tracked. It does not have to be a full day.

  • What a dissappointment that a DOL speaker provides innaccurate information. Having attended seminars, however, it is possible that there was a question that the speaker was answering that was taken out of context or not understood. My information shows:

    An employer can reduce the wages of an Exempt employee for any time taken as Family Leave (either continuous leave or intermittent/reduced hour leave). The employer would need to determine the applicable rate (hourly, daily, etc.) for purposes of appropriate deduction. This (as is specifically stated in the law) does NOT jeopardize the Exempt nature of the employee status.

  • Like other businesses, private and public, the DOL is made of workers who are human. I was on the IRS site the other day looking for current 401k limits. I searched under '401k' and then chose an article called "Choosing a Retirement Plan." It stated that with EGTRA limits for employee/employer were the lesser of 25% or $40,000. All my documentation says EGTRA abolished the percentage limit. Since we had changed our plan accordingly, I called my broker in a panic. The article on the IRS site was wrong. Scary, isn't it?
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