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Can we set different sick policies for different offices?

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Q. We have two offices in two different states. In one office, we have a sick leave policy in place because we have exempt employees, and the FLSA requires us to have the policy if we want to dock exempt employees for sick time after they exhaust their sick days. All employees at the second office are hourly and they rarely call in sick. We’d prefer not to have a sick policy there, since we believe that would just encourage them to take sick days. Can we have a policy at one location and not at another? — B.T., Connecticut

Yes. An employer can have a sick leave policy in one facility and no policy at another in a different state. Even if someone could develop some argument of actionable discrimination, you have articulated legitimate business reasons for the difference, which should defeat any challenge.

Of course, if something changes and you add exempt employees to the second location, you will want to reconsider your two-policy program.

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