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Can we send employees on an unpaid ‘Vacation’?

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Q. We are a physicians’ group with multiple sites. If one of our physicians, who has a small office with three employees, decides to go on vacation, can he legally say he wants only one employee to work and the other two have to take time off without pay? — J.B., Massachusetts

A. The answer to your situation probably will depend on how long a period of time the vacation is scheduled to last and whether the employees involved are exempt or nonexempt.

Example: For exempt employees, if the vacation lasts less than a week, in general, they must be paid for the full week if they’ve worked any part of the week. By contrast, if the vacation lasts for a full week, you probably won’t have to pay such exempt employees. (Note: Some state laws may apply to such a situation.)

If those employees are nonexempt, hourly workers, their schedules can be changed as management sees fit, subject to your state’s unemployment compensation laws (or a union contract, if one applies).

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