Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

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UnLearnYourself
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Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by UnLearnYourself » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:46 pm

Can a salaried employee be docked pay for a sick day prior to being eligibile for PTO/sick time benefits?

Scenario:

Employee begins getting benefits for PTO, sick time, health/dental, 401k, etc 90 days from the start of employment.

45 days into employment the employee is out sick for a day.

Question again - can the employer dock them for one day pay?

Nectarineman
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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by Nectarineman » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:48 pm

Yes indeed

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:56 pm

Seems like the benefit has not been earned, so I would think docking the pay would be appropriate.

However, I have been out of the corporate arena for so long I have no idea how these type issues play out. :?:

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BeneIRA
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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by BeneIRA » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:01 pm

Yes, but it is very employer specific. Some employers will allow you to have negative PTO where you can use PTO you don't have as long as you will accrue it by the end of the year, but I am trying to wrack my brain to think of one who has allowed an employee to use PTO before they are even eligible for PTO. You're in the probationary period right now, it sounds like, where they can terminate you for much less than they can after the period is over. Yes, they can dock you and I would expect to be docked.

UnLearnYourself
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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by UnLearnYourself » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:05 pm

I'm asking regarding a friend, this is the language I keep reading:

"Being paid on a “salary basis” means an employee regularly receives a predetermined amount of compensation each pay period. The predetermined amount cannot be reduced because of variations in the quality or quantity of the employee’s work."

Said employee also receives commissions and bonus pay for outside sales work. So the salary I'm referencing is basically a base salary.

UnLearnYourself
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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by UnLearnYourself » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:07 pm

Seems like a consensus is brewing. I appreciate the quick thoughtful feedback (as always seems to be the case around here!)

Ultimately it's a small amount, but before my friend got too fired up about it I wanted to do a little digging.

livesoft
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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by livesoft » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:11 pm

Sometimes one can work on the weekend or holiday in a so-called comp-time. Discuss with employer ahead of time is best.
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Watty
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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by Watty » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:12 pm

It likely also depends on your state law too.

If they dock you for being out sick just one day then I would be concerned that your manager did not just "look the other way", let your PTO go negative, or let you make up the time. Some companies are sticklers for things like that but It could be a sign that they are less than thrilled with the way you are working out. If it were me I would not make a big deal about it and be on extra good behaviour.

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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by The Wizard » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:15 pm

I was a salaried employee for 40 years.
I was never docked pay.
I had sick leave as needed, no specific number of hours or days.
It worked out fine...
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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by JGoneRiding » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:22 pm

The Wizard wrote:I was a salaried employee for 40 years.
I was never docked pay.
I had sick leave as needed, no specific number of hours or days.
It worked out fine...
Surely you realize that is employer specific. "Salary" generally benefits employer. Some comp after 45 hrs some don't but sick has always come out of my pto. And before I earned any I had less pay

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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by tibbitts » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:30 pm

The Wizard wrote:I was a salaried employee for 40 years.
I was never docked pay.
I had sick leave as needed, no specific number of hours or days.
It worked out fine...
There are virtually no employers that allow "as needed" sick leave, so while I don't doubt you had that, almost nobody else does.

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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by ysette9 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:34 pm

It sounds like a crappy situation with a crappy employer, but I suspect there is nothing untoward about it. My company doesn't do stuff like that because you are immediately eligible for sick pay, 401(k), and immediately start accruing vacation. However, I have seen people sent home without pay for a week as a disciplinary action even though the employee was salaried.
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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by Katietsu » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:44 pm

Yes. If your friend missed a day of work at a company that uses earned sick days then he would not be paid if he had no days available. I think for most situations, being salaried is about working extra without overtime not about getting any normal workdays off.

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FIREchief
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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by FIREchief » Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:11 pm

My old megacorp's interpretation was that if a salaried employee put in any portion of a day at work, the FLSA required they be paid for the entire day. So, in OP's situation, sick employee should have dragged their sick behind into work and immediately told the boss they were going home sick. Corporate rules and federal laws don't always make a great deal of sense..... :P
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student
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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by student » Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:14 pm

Although faculty don't have official sick days, our staff members told me that they can borrow sick days from the rest of the year even though they have not been accumulated yet, and at one point, every union member would donate a day to the pool so people who need it could use it. Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with what your friend's company is doing, it just has different rules.

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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by Lindrobe » Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:55 pm

This is an interesting conversation. I have been wondering about something similar.

I work in a very small (7 person) CPA firm. I know for a fact that my salaried coworker had 10 vacation days last year (first year he was elible for PTO) but used 15 days. This year, he is doing same thing. I am wondering why I even bother to only take the set amount of vacation days that I have if there is no consequence to taking more?

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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by miamivice » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:02 pm

UnLearnYourself wrote:I'm asking regarding a friend, this is the language I keep reading:

"Being paid on a “salary basis” means an employee regularly receives a predetermined amount of compensation each pay period. The predetermined amount cannot be reduced because of variations in the quality or quantity of the employee’s work."

Said employee also receives commissions and bonus pay for outside sales work. So the salary I'm referencing is basically a base salary.
I have looked extensively into the labor laws. There is nothing that in federal labor laws that describes salary versus hourly employees. Rather, they define positions as being exempt versus non-exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act. Many times we consider salary to be exempt from fair labor standard act and hourly as non-exempt, but this may or may not be the case. The term salary is more of a colloquial term.

What you are describing is a situation that an employee exempt from the FLSA misses a day of work. An exempt employee generally must be paid for a full days work regardless of the number of hours they work, otherwise, the employer runs the risk of making them a non-exempt employee and they'd have to pay overtime for hours worked in excess of 40.

In your situation, you asked if you miss a full day of work. No employer has an obligation to pay someone for a full days work when they are absent and have no sick/vacation/personal time available. So in the case of your friend, he/she is simply out of luck.

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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by drk » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:13 pm

When you say "salaried," I assume you mean it to mean "exempt." It looks like the DOL has weighed in on this:
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.
Now, if an employer actually did that, I would consider it a deal-breaker. Aside from being cheap (a day, really?), it's short-sighted: one untaken sick day now can easily become ten in a week. That's likely symptomatic of deeper issues in the company's culture and decision-making. Granted, I would not work for a company that delayed benefits eligibility for 90 days in the first place, so it's a moot point.

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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by ved » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:24 pm

Whether it's allowed or not, do you really want to make a big deal out of this just 45 days into your work at this new company?
What sort of impression will you be creating in the minds of your superiors & HR?

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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by The Wizard » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:24 am

Lindrobe wrote:This is an interesting conversation. I have been wondering about something similar.

I work in a very small (7 person) CPA firm. I know for a fact that my salaried coworker had 10 vacation days last year (first year he was elible for PTO) but used 15 days. This year, he is doing same thing. I am wondering why I even bother to only take the set amount of vacation days that I have if there is no consequence to taking more?
I did that sort of thing my latter working years; four weeks paid vacation but I'd take five to six. The excess was simply deducted from pay.
This offered more flexibility than going to an 80% four day a week arrangement...
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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by The Wizard » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:32 am

tibbitts wrote:
The Wizard wrote:I was a salaried employee for 40 years.
I was never docked pay.
I had sick leave as needed, no specific number of hours or days.
It worked out fine...
There are virtually no employers that allow "as needed" sick leave, so while I don't doubt you had that, almost nobody else does.
I don't much know what other employers do.
We had a separate long term disability insurance thing for people who were out more than a few weeks with something...
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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by munemaker » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:54 am

The Wizard wrote:I was a salaried employee for 40 years.
I was never docked pay.
I had sick leave as needed, no specific number of hours or days.
It worked out fine...
Me too, but I always followed my employer's policy regarding paid time off.

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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by IowaFarmBoy » Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:21 am

I'm sure it varies by state and company.

The megacorp I work for recently implemented a new PTO (paid time off) policy. If you don't have enough time in the bank and become sick, etc., you will need to take unpaid leave. So apparently it can happen in Illinois but they call it "unpaid leave of absence" rather than "docking."

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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:43 am

At my last job, the private, medium sized company decided at the beginning of December that it would shut down the entire company over the Christmas to New Year period since business was down and the factory was planned to shut down. Employees without PTO earned were not allowed to go negative in PTO so would not be paid during the period. The company had a policy that NO PTO could be carried from one year to the next, so as you'd expect, very few people had any saved PTO. This essentially became unpaid time off for the vast majority of employees. Outside of the factory, almost all employees were salaried and exempt.

This company also, all of a sudden decided that it was industry standard that everyone work one unpaid hour a day. I'm sure that if slavery was legal, they'd simply buy slaves to do the work.
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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by Rupert » Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:03 am

The employer's personnel policy manual will govern this. There's nothing illegal about it. At my employer, if you miss work and don't have accrued leave (either sick or annual), you are docked pay. And we are all salaried employees. Some employers have policies that permit employees to "borrow" future leave, but I think that's unusual. Comp time may be an option if the employer permits it. My employer only gives comp time for work or work-related travel that must be done on a day you would not normally be working, e.g., weekends or holidays.

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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by ddurrett896 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:18 am

Can they? Yes.
Will they? Maybe.

I took a salaried job and needed 2 days off prior to accruing any time. My boss just said make up the time whenever. It seemed like it was more of a hassle to dock vs just letting it ride.

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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by jharkin » Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:53 pm

tibbitts wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:30 pm
The Wizard wrote:I was a salaried employee for 40 years.
I was never docked pay.
I had sick leave as needed, no specific number of hours or days.
It worked out fine...
There are virtually no employers that allow "as needed" sick leave, so while I don't doubt you had that, almost nobody else does.
Actually there is a new trend brewing in high tech to offer "unlimited" PTO... I personally don't like that because I can envision employees being judged on how much or little they take but it is a trend.

Some states mandate separate paid sick time separate from vacation by law.... mine does.


Some companies are strict on PTO, some are not. Some managers disregard the rules. In my company we have accrued days that technically don't rollover, but in practice nobody reports to HR and most managers in the technical divisions let staff self manage time... everybody works so many hours I doubt we even take all we are owed.

And then there is public sector.. my wife works for the schools and she has accrued sick at rollover indefinitely. People get paid out months when they retire.


Bottom line... None of us can assume our own situation matches the OP. S/He should ask their HR.

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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by JGoneRiding » Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:07 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:43 am
At my last job, the private, medium sized company decided at the beginning of December that it would shut down the entire company over the Christmas to New Year period since business was down and the factory was planned to shut down. Employees without PTO earned were not allowed to go negative in PTO so would not be paid during the period. The company had a policy that NO PTO could be carried from one year to the next, so as you'd expect, very few people had any saved PTO. This essentially became unpaid time off for the vast majority of employees. Outside of the factory, almost all employees were salaried and exempt.

This company also, all of a sudden decided that it was industry standard that everyone work one unpaid hour a day. I'm sure that if slavery was legal, they'd simply buy slaves to do the work.
There is a factory near me that also shuts down over christmas/new years. They have a fascinating way of dealing with this. If you show up on time all year long and have no late/unexcused absences ( you do get so many sick days but are expected to call in before work starts) then you get the week paid. If you weren't a great employee and showed up late then you don't!! :)

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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by lateregistration » Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:30 pm

Well, I have my own frustrations with being a salaried employee and PTO. I work for a subsidiary of a megacorp in a call center/operations management role. The megacorp's attendance and PTO policy covers me, but my business unit has "discretion" to interpret the policy.

Megacorp's written policy on exempt employees discharging time says, "in general, any exempt employee that takes between a half and full day off must discharge sick or PTO." Meaning, if I want to work 8-2 once in a while and leave for the day, I shouldn't need to discharge PTO. Now, I wouldn't take advantage of this in an excessisve way, but there are 1-2 times per month when I ask to work through lunches to cover the 2-3 hours I'd miss. My leader consistently tells me that the business unit can't accommodate such requests and that I need to discharge time unless I can make up the time missed within the SAME business day.

Frankly, I think this is nonsense and basically means that I derive no benefit from being an exempt employee.

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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by bayview » Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:49 pm

Just for those who might have missed the original post:
UnLearnYourself wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:46 pm
Can a salaried employee be docked pay for a sick day prior to being eligibile for PTO/sick time benefits?

Scenario:

Employee begins getting benefits for PTO, sick time, health/dental, 401k, etc 90 days from the start of employment.

45 days into employment the employee is out sick for a day.

Question again - can the employer dock them for one day pay?
And on a later post, OP states s/he is asking for a friend.
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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by Big Dog » Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:04 pm

There are virtually no employers that allow "as needed" sick leave, so while I don't doubt you had that, almost nobody else does.
Off topic, but there are a bunch of employers that allow unlimited time off, i.e., for any reason, sick or just vacation, whether "needed" or not. Professional services firms, like Big Accounting and Big Law, are leading the way. Of course, if you don't get your work done..... :annoyed

The benefit to the employer is that they: 1) don't have to accrue the 'liability' on their balance sheet; 2) don't have to payout anything upon termination.

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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by dm200 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:53 pm

I am no "HR" expert, but a few comments and experiences (about 50 years in the workplace).

Almost all of my employment (private sector) has been as an "exempt" employee.

I am assuming (please correct me if not true) that "salaried" and "exempt" are equivalent.

In all my employment years, I had either Vacation days or PTO days (only one, the last had PTO). While I don't recall ever being docked, I know I was always required to "take" a vacation day when I was not working (at least some of the day) and not "sick".

In all, except the first out of college job for megacorp, jobs, I either accumulated sick days or PTO. If I was sick (for the whole day), I was required to take a "sick day" (or PTO in the last job).

I believe that the distinction for an exempt/salaried employee is for partial absence for sickness or other. I do not believe exempt/salaried employees can/should be charged for partial absence during a day.

My first (50 years ago) job out of college (megacorp) had an "intersting" sick leave policy. You did not accrue of accumulate sick days. if you were sick, you got paid - even from the first day on the job. There was, therefore, no feeling of "losing" some number of days of accumulated sick days. I was very healthy back then. BUT - that would have been great if I had incurred some disease/injury/condition that would have caused me to be out for a lot of time.

For another megacorp employer in the 1980s, the benefits were generally great. They did have one policy, though, that may be relevant to this discussion. Their "policy" was that the office never "closed" because of snow, ice, etc. This was true even if the government told folks to stay home because of heavy snow. Even though this is not snow country, from time to time we get snowstorms and the area is not well prepared. On any days when employees could not make it to work, non-exempt employees were charged vacation or no pay if they missed a whole day. If they worked part of the day, they were charged vacation or no pay for the hours not worked. However, for exempt/salaried employees, if you did not show up, you were charged vacation or no pay. If, however, you showed up (even for five minutes) and it was somehow documented, we were paid for the whole day. Needless to say, there was a real "incentive" to show up for a few minutes when it snowed, but little or no incentive to work the whole day.

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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by The Wizard » Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:03 pm

dm200 wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:53 pm

...My first (50 years ago) job out of college (megacorp) had an "intersting" sick leave policy. You did not accrue or accumulate sick days. if you were sick, you got paid - even from the first day on the job. There was, therefore, no feeling of "losing" some number of days of accumulated sick days. I was very healthy back then. BUT - that would have been great if I had incurred some disease/injury/condition that would have caused me to be out for a lot of time...
Same for me, as I mentioned upthread.
I was on the technical staff of a good-sized company, not a megacorp.
Point being, if you're trying to slack off by various means, being "sick" a lot of Fridays and Mondays or whatever, your performance will likely be subpar and termination is a likely result.

Being out for an extended time is typically covered under a different disability benefit, I believe. An HR person can amplify more on this.
Sadly, I had two co-workers who were stricken down and never returned to work. :(. Their pay, or some part of it, was continued for their remaining years. (Both were smokers, FWIM...)
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Re: Can a salaried employee be docked pay...

Post by Lacrab » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:04 pm

ysette9 wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:34 pm
It sounds like a crappy situation with a crappy employer, but I suspect there is nothing untoward about it. My company doesn't do stuff like that because you are immediately eligible for sick pay, 401(k), and immediately start accruing vacation. However, I have seen people sent home without pay for a week as a disciplinary action even though the employee was salaried.
+1 on the loss of pay as a penalty for salaried
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