Dispelling the 10 Biggest Wage and Hour Myths: Part VIII

Wage and Hour Myth #8

Subsequent to exhausting paid leave, the salary of an exempt employee can be docked when the employee comes in late or leaves early due to sickness or personal reasons.  THIS IS INCORRECT.  An employer can never dock an exempt employee’s salary for partial day absences (unless the absence is FMLA-qualifying).  The only permissible deductions from an exempt employee’s salary are for:  (1) full day absences after the employee has exhausted all available paid leave; (2) infractions of safety rules of major significance; (3) disciplinary suspensions of one or more full days for violation of workplace conduct rules; (4) pro rata adjustments for the first and last week of employment; and (5) unpaid leave pursuant to the FMLA.  Consequently, if an exempt employee has exhausted all available paid leave, arrives to work at 8am, and subsequently leaves work at 8:30am because of sickness (that is not FMLA-qualifying), the employer cannot deduct any amount from the employee’s weekly salary because this was not a full day absence.