Paid Time Off Policies for Exempts

For those of you with Paid Time Off Policies...What increments do require exempt employees to use PTO hours? ie. Do you require them to use PTO for personal business such as dentist/doctor appointments where they are gone for an hour or two?? Thanks for your feedback.


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  • At the places where I've worked that did track time off by the hour, such things were considered 'sick leave' and not personal business. I guess with PTO, it's all the same. At this place and the last place I worked, such things are not even considered for exempts, for obvious reasons. The only time I've seen hour tracking recently is in the case of FMLA. My thought is if you nickle and dime exempts to death with incremental charging of time off, you're going to have serious morale problems.
  • We allow our exempts and nonexempts two "freebie" hours per month for professional appts, etc. that is not charged against their paid time off account. After that, they are docked PTO in 1/4 hour increments. And Don is right. Exempts (myself included) hate nothing more than having their PTO accounts charged for partial hours.
  • In our world, if exempts show up at all, they get the whole day. So we do not charge the little increments. On the flip side, the work never stops, some are on call 24/7 - lots of work, never enough hours in the day, etc, etc, etc.
  • Currently, if an exempt shows up for any time at all, they are paid for the full day. Starting January 1st, if an exempt works more than 4 hours they are paid the full day. If an exempt works less than four hours, they must use PTO for the hours missed, in 15 minute increments.

  • Our exempts have a vacation bank and "unlimited" personal time. The personal time is unlimited as long as it is considered reasonable. It is to be used for both illness and personal business. They may take personal time in half hour increments. Vacation must be taken in one hour increments.
  • I guess I just find it interesting, as most of you do, often working late hours or even on weekends to interview candidates that it is much of an issue. I have been fortunate in my last few employers that when I need to go to the doctor, or my kids play during the day I have the ability to just go. :-) As an exempt employee, I see that as part of the give and take, as long as it is not abused.
    Would find it intersting if an employer wanted to start "docking" me pay.
    My $0.02 worth.
    DJ The Balloonman
  • I'm confused after reading this. I'm reading the "National Law" section of Exempt Personnel in BLR's Personnel book and it says "Deductions may be made when the employee is absent from work for a day or more for personal reasons other than sickness or accident. If an employee is absent for less than a day, he or she must be paid for the full day." So we pay an exempt employees for the full day if they show up at all. I thought we had to - can anyone clarify this?
  • You are correct, Amy. Exempt ee's must be paid in full for the day. For example if one of our exempt engineers works just 4 hours (half day) then the other 4 hours must be charged to either personal time or vacation time so they are paid for 8 hours for that day. As I had posted, our exempts are given unlimited personal time to ensure we have a "bucket" to charge to, to ensure they are paid 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. If the personal time get excessive, then the ee is counselled they need to spend more time at work or start using their vacation time for absences. Being a manufacturing operation, we track how time is charged for labor costs and attendance.
  • Ray, thanks! I get it now. We're a small manufacturing company & also track time. I like your "bucket" idea. Think we're going to try that. Thanks again. Amy
  • While you can not "dock" an exempt employee's pay, you can dock their vacation/pto bank for anything less then a day.

    We are having this same debate right now. They want to require exempt employees to take PTO time in 4 hour increments.

    The debate is, they don't want employee's counting hours saying they worked 50 hours last week so they are going home early on Friday and docking them PTO time.

    On the flip side, the company is counting hours by docking them for anything over 4 hours.

    It's a big mess. We were on the phone for an hour with our lawyer trying to sort it all out and we ended up back where we began.

    I'd be interested to hear if any folks have a written PTO/VAC policy for exempt time off. For example, when it's appropriate for them to use benefit time.
  • This is essentially our issue. We plan to have all employees use PTO in minimum 1 hour increments. Our exempts are upset that they may work 50 hours a week and are then required to charge PTO for a 2 hour dentist appointment. I can understand this concern except that we have given employees 2 more weeks of PTO than they previously had for vacation. For example, employees who previously had 3 weeks of vacation now have 5 weeks of PTO, etc. We felt this would more than accommodate needs for personal time off. But, our exempts are still in an "uproar". By the way, we will also not require exempts to record periods of less than an hour. I feel like this package is more than fair. Any thoughts?
  • AZHR: I always recommend get the HR out of the line of fire and you'll live a much happier HR life. Exempt supervision is a leadership issue, let the boss of "whatever exempt" is using PTO control the hours and minutes of his/her comings and goings. It is really not a concern when you allow managers to manage their area of responsibilitiy. I'll let you know when I want you to be keeping watch over "my flock". It is land that belongs to someone else, you should not even be worried in the case of an exempt. Managers/LEADERS are paid to do their jobs and manage their assets. Only get involved if you see, hear, or smell of the leaders failure to lead within the laws. Agreed, you must monitor the programs in order to be fair to the company. Let me the LEADER answer for my abuses of my people, but don't tell me "how to suck eggs".

  • Pork, sometimes I agree with your postulate that HR should stay out of certain areas of management and sometimes I disagree. In this case, I agree. But, we in HR must establish the ground rules to ensure each manager is consistent with each other. At least as much as possible. We make our managers keep attendance records documenting PTO. When ee's come to me asking how much vacation they have left, I refer them to their manager. But, A year and a half ago our Engineering Director was crying that he needed more engineers. I told him he needed to better manage the ones he had. He wouldn't listen to me, so I went through his entire dept. listing the amount of just personal time each engineer had used YTD. It was an eye opener. I told him he didn't need more engineers, he needed to get the ones he had to work more often. I shared this info with the VP. Net result, director demoted to Sr. Engineer, new director who takes his job seriously and one less engineer on staff. Sad thing, I had to do his job so he lost his.
  • Pork: I agree that we should not tell our supervisors and managers how to suck eggs. But, if we have determined that sucking eggs is an objective, I think we do have a role of at least telling them what the company's idea of consistent sucking is. Otherwise, we run the risk of having some cracked and slurped eggs, some pin-holed and slowly sucked and others pulled in by a leaf-blower in reverse and destroyed altogether, and a few neatly broken apart and separated gently. Without some measure of consistency in the administration of policy, we will forever be in hearings. And if all of our managers are instructed to go out and suck eggs on their own, we will never achieve any level of consistency in the administration or application of our policies and procedures.
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