Can I be docked a vacation/ personal day?

I am an exempt employee not eligible for overtime, however the company has a policy that if we are more than 30 minutes late for whatever the reason, even if it is a first occurrence. You will be docked half a vacation/ personal day. Can they legally do this?

1 answer  |  asked Sep 4, 2006 9:55 PM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
You might be entitled to overtime

The Fair Labor Standards Act creates a kind of presumption that employees are generally entitled to time-and-a-half for hours worked in a workweek beyond 40 hours. An employee will lose the right to overtime only if the employee falls into an exception (exemption) to the general rule. The exemptions are to be read narrowly, and, if the employer fails to strictly comply with the requirements of the exemption, the employee becomes entitled to overtime.

Although an employer can have exempt employees report their hours (for a variety of reasons including billing), one of the requirements that an employer generally has to follow in order to maintain the exempt status of exempt employees is not dock exempt employees for arriving late or leaving early. Genrally, exempt employees should not be docked for increments of less than one day. Exempt employees can be docked for taking whole days, as when they are sick or on vacation.

If an employee, who would otherwise clearly be in an exempt position, is docked in increments of less than one day, that employee may well be entitled to overtime, and the employee might be able to sue the employer for unpaid overtime. Although the FLSA would allow you to collect only 2 years of back overtime, under New York State law, you can go back as much as 6 years.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Sep 5, 2006 10:15 AM [EST]

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