If exempt employee fields calls or emails on a sick day, is it still a sick day?

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Q. If a salaried manager is contacted via phone or email while out on a sick day and she responds, would that constitute work performed? Would that still be considered a sick day?

A. If an exempt manager spends only a minimal amount of time responding to the communication, then you should still count the day as a sick day.

If she spends a substantial amount of time working on a sick day, you may decide not to count it as a sick day, depending on your sick leave policy and practice.  

Keep in mind, however, that you must pay exempt employees their full salaries for each week in which they perform any work, with certain limited exceptions. One is when the employee is compensated under a bona fide sick plan.

Consequently, regardless of whether or not you call the day a sick day, you must pay the manager for the day unless the manager is covered by a sick leave policy.

If the manager is salaried, nonexempt, you need to pay her for any time spent working. You should consult your attorney for further guidance on your specific issue.

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