When Can We Deduct From an Exempt Employee’s Pay?

When Can We Deduct From an Exempt Employee’s Pay?

When can we deduct from an exempt employee’s pay?

In general, if an exempt employee performs any work during the workweek, you must pay them their full salary amount. Deductions are allowed, however, for legally required withholding and benefit elections.

There are a handful of other situations in which a deduction from an exempt employee’s salary would be permissible under federal law:

  • For any workweek in which the employee performs absolutely no work
  • In the initial or final week of employment based on the number of hours actually worked
  • For absences of one or more full days for personal reasons other than sickness or disability
  • For absences of one or more full days due to sickness or disability, if the deduction is made in accordance with a bona fide paid sick leave plan (the Department of Labor has previously found that a plan that offered at least 5 paid days off for sickness qualified as bona fide)
  • To offset amounts the employee receives from jury or witness fees or for military pay
  • For penalties imposed in good faith for infractions of safety rules of major significance, in accordance with a clearly established workplace policy
  • For unpaid disciplinary suspensions of one or more full days imposed in good faith for workplace conduct rule infractions
  • For leave taken under the Family and Medical Leave Act

If none of these situations apply, an exempt employee must receive the full salary for any week in which they perform any work, regardless of the number of days or hours worked. In addition, some states do not allow all of these deductions.

Content courtesy of the HR Support Center – https://affiliatedpayroll.myhrsupportcenter.com

What is a Leave Entitlement?

What is a Leave Entitlement?

What is a leave entitlement?

The term leave can refer to just about any type of time away from work, but it’s often used to describe time an employee is entitled to take by law or company policy. Common leave entitlements include vacation, personal days, and sick days. Other forms include time off taken for bereavement, military service, jury duty, and birth or adoption of a child.

Whether a leave is paid or unpaid depends on what the law or your policy requires for that type of leave. Leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, for example, is unpaid, though employers may choose to layer paid leaves on top of it (like paid parental leave that the company offers by choice). Most state sick leave laws, however, require the time off to be paid.

Content courtesy of the HR Support Center – https://affiliatedpayroll.myhrsupportcenter.com

What is Concerted Activity?

What is Concerted Activity?

In general, concerted activity takes place when employees act as a group (in concert) for their mutual aid or protection. This includes activities like discussing the terms and conditions of their employment, such as pay, benefits, treatment by management, dress codes, workplace policies, or scheduling.

This activity—when engaged in by non-supervisory employees—is protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. That means employers are legally prohibited from trying to stop employees from engaging in concerted activity or taking adverse when they do. While supervisors don’t have these protections under Section 7, the term supervisor has a narrower definition than you might expect. To be exempt, supervisors must have real authority and use their independent judgment when wielding it. For instance, the 19-year-old assistant manager who is technically in charge when other supervisors are on break, but who doesn’t have the power to fire, discipline, or respond to the grievances of other employees, almost certainly still has protections under Section 7.

Employers should also be aware that it’s fairly easy for an employee to be protected under the act if they are discussing the terms and conditions of their employment either physically around co-workers or managers or in the same virtual space as co-workers or managers. While an employee may not be intending to act in concert for the mutual aid of themselves and their coworkers, if they post on Facebook about how they are overworked and underpaid, and several colleagues chime in that they agree, or even just “like” the post, that can become protected concerted activity.

Content courtesy of the HR Support Center – https://affiliatedpayroll.myhrsupportcenter.com

Can We Ask an Applicant Why They Are Leaving Their Current Job?

Can We Ask an Applicant Why They Are Leaving Their Current Job?

Can we ask an applicant why they are leaving their current job?

Yes, you can ask applicants why they are leaving their current job. The employment application is a good place to collect this information. In the section where the applicant lists their previous employment experience, you can ask for the reason they left each job. Trends you notice may be cause for follow-up questions during the interview or a reason not to schedule an interview at all.

If you ask about previous or current employment during the interview, be mindful of the direction the response goes. As with any interview question, you should redirect the candidate if they start to share sensitive information. For example, if a candidate says they left past employment due to medical reasons, don’t ask for details about their condition. Instead, you could ask whether they provided notice of their need to resign and whether they left on good terms.

Content courtesy of the HR Support Center – https://affiliatedpayroll.myhrsupportcenter.com

What is the Minimum Amount of Time That a Salaried Exempt Employee Must Work to be Paid For the Entire Day?

What is the Minimum Amount of Time That a Salaried Exempt Employee Must Work to be Paid For the Entire Day?

What is the minimum amount of time that a salaried exempt employee must work to be paid for the entire day?

If an exempt employee does any work, they must be paid for the full day—there is no minimum. For example, if an employee worked the first 20 minutes of their usual 8-hour day, then had to go home to deal with a flooding basement, they would be entitled to their full pay for that day.

You may, however, have the option of using an employee’s paid time off to fill in the gap. If the employee has hours available in their PTO or vacation bank, you could use time from that bank to cover their absence (assuming this is your standard policy and practice). If, however, the employee was out of paid time off—or was never offered any—you would still have to pay them for the full day. You should also be careful about using any state-mandated sick leave to fill in gap, even if the employee is sick; employees often get to choose when to use this leave.

If you would prefer to pay employees only for the hours they work, you could reclassify your salaried exempt employees as hourly non-exempt. Of course, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime.

Content courtesy of the HR Support Center – https://affiliatedpayroll.myhrsupportcenter.com

Can We Prohibit Personal Phone Use During Work Hours?

Can We Prohibit Personal Phone Use During Work Hours?

Employees are spending a lot of time on their phones (scrolling social media, browsing the internet, listening to music or podcasts). Can we prohibit personal phone use during work hours?

Yes, you can limit or prohibit use of personal devices during work hours. Employees can be expected to give their undivided attention to the work you pay them to perform, and if that means phones need to be silenced or put away, you are entitled to make this request. An all-out ban on phone use may not be necessary, however. Periodic mental health breaks can actually improve overall productivity. And if an employee is able to work efficiently and not distract their colleagues while listening to music or a podcast, there’s probably no reason to prohibit them from doing so.

However you decide to approach cell phone use during work hours, employees should be allowed to use them during their break and meal periods. This time needs to be truly their own in order to satisfy the requirements of many state laws.

Be sure to outline your expectations in a handbook policy and distribute it to all employees.

Content courtesy of the HR Support Center – https://affiliatedpayroll.myhrsupportcenter.com