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Can we deduct hourly FMLA leave for exempt staff?

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Q. We have an exempt administrative employee who is on intermittent FMLA leave. She’s unable to work on Fridays for two or three hours due to a serious health condition. By policy, she must use any accrued sick leave when she is out sick, typically in whole-day increments. Can we charge her sick time in hourly intervals because she is utilizing FMLA intermittent leave even if we charge her in larger blocks when she is just plain sick? — T.T., North Carolina

Yes. Typically, deductions from an employee’s salary in increments of less than a full day jeopardize his or her exempt status under the FLSA because it begins to treat that employee like an hourly worker. The FMLA regulations, however, specifically permit employers to make deductions from an exempt employee’s salary for any hours taken during a workweek as intermittent or reduced-schedule leave without affecting the employee’s exempt status.

In other words, an employee will remain exempt even if an employer makes deductions from the employee’s salary for unpaid intermittent or reduced-schedule leave.

How well do you understand the legal complexities in the new FMLA regulations? Test your expertise with these questions:
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  • Under the new regs, what should your reaction be when an employee wants to discuss FMLA?
  • What now qualifies as "sufficient" notice of their FMLA rights?
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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jeanne June 2, 2012 at 8:27 am

I am an exempt employee for a large corporation. I am currently on dialysis 3 days a week, 4 hours each time. I work before and after dialysis. Can my employer deduct pay for this?
Also, occasionally I have to leave early for a doctor appointment. Can the employer deduct pay for this time?


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