Q. I have a question about deducting leave for salaried staff. I don’t understand how we can deduct from employees’ paid-leave bank when they are gone for an hour or two during the day, when we don’t pay them anything extra when they work 50 hours in a week. For example, if an employee works 10-hour days on a regular basis, is it OK to charge her vacation time when she leaves an hour or two early? — J.H., Minnesota
A. A lot of HR people find the partial-day deduction rule confusing. While there is some legal authority pointing to a different conclusion, the U.S. Labor Department released an opinion letter in January 2005 that is directly on point.
The Labor Department said that an employer may charge a salaried employee’s paid-time-off bank for a partial-day absence as long as the employee receives his or her full weekly salary. That means the employee suffers a loss of accrued paid time-off, but doesn’t see a reduction in his or her pay envelope. However, once the paid-time-off bank has been exhausted, the employer may not make further deductions for partial-day absences.