Re: legal experts: salaried exempt vs. non-exempt employees
If they are salaried, they are paid to do a job, not for the time to do that job. They shouldn't be docked for arriving late, long breaks, etc. Since 2001, as I understand it, the federal rule has allowed exempt employees to use partial vacation and sick leave days so long as there was no loss of pay on payday. So, if an exempt employee takes a half day off, the half day of accrued leave can be docked from the accrual bank – never from the paycheck. The person can not actually receive a lower paycheck, even if they do not have time accrued in their "bank" to take off. Many companies have a policy that requires time off to be taken in blocks on 1/2 or a full day.
This does not mean a company can not discipline an employee, however, for taking excessive time off, being late, long breaks, etc. Yes, an employee can be fired for these infractions, exempt or not.
Also, many states may have different laws regarding this.
However, the interesting question is if they are truly exempt under the law. That will depend on duties, etc.
If they are not exempt, they would be due overtime for any hours worked over 40 in a week. And yes, that can be a retro decision if made by wage and hour enforcement.
As a former HR Director, I can tell you Wage and Hour audits are no fun. (I am not suggesting that these employees involve a government audit, but rather they should find out if they truly meet the definition of exempt employees.) MANY companies make mistakes regarding exempt/non-exempt definitions and end up being tagged with large fines and back pay issues.
You may want to look at the employees duties and match them up under the definition of exempt employees. If you think they are not exempt, you may want to bring that up to the HR Department - not to cause them a headache, but rather to try and save them from a very large one down the road -- Unhappy employees who feel they are being taken advantage of will make that call eventually to the wage and hour people.
Edit to add: I don't currently work in HR and have never worked in Ohio, so take the above with that knowledge in mind.
Nothing to see here. Please disperse.
Last edited by deltachi8; 01-22-2009 at 12:14 AM.