Boss can dock vacation time, but not pay of exempt worker

THE BALTIMORE SUN

We are exempt workers, yet we have to punch a time clock. While the company says the time clock is for "insurance purposes," it has been using the information to dock us for time off.

It chips away at our vacation time in half-day amounts. I'm wondering if the policy is legal, since we are exempt and the company has no written rules on the matter.

It is legal, according to Allen Breslow, an employment attorney in Commack, N.Y.

The pay issue is a little more involved, though. Because you are exempt, the employer cannot dock your salary if you are a few hours late to work. But it can deduct from your accrued paid leave, which includes vacations.

Federal labor law "permits employers to make partial-day charges to an employee's accrued leave bank for absences without jeopardizing his or her exempt status," Breslow said.

Exempt employees aren't paid hourly but instead earn a salary. And companies are not required to pay them overtime.

But companies, among other things, can't dock the pay of an employee who misses less than a full day's work.

carrie.draffen@newsday.com

Carrie Mason-Draffen writes for Newsday.

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