Deducting leave for partial-day absences — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Deducting leave for partial-day absences

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Q. Recently, we audited our jobs and determined that some employees were classified as hourly when they should be exempt. We reclassified them. But now, I have a question about handling time off for our newly exempt employees. By law, are we required to NOT charge an exempt person’s time if they’re out of the office for a half day? And if we do start charging an exempt person’s time (vacation or personal) if they miss an hour or two, are we setting ourselves up to be sued? — C.C., Wisconsin

A. You are misunderstanding exempt status. According to U.S. Labor Department rules, when an exempt employee is out for part of a day due to sickness or personal reasons, the employer can make a part-day deduction from the employee’s paid-leave bank. However, if the employee’s paid-leave bank has been exhausted, then no deductions may be made for part-day absences. In situations where frequent absences occur after an employee has exhausted his or her paid leave, it’s time to consider disciplinary action.  

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