Can an employer dock a salary employee for working half a day or require them to use PTO for the half day not worked?

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Can an employer dock a salary employee for working half a day or require them to use PTO for the half day not worked?

An employer wants to dock salary employees who do not work a minimum of 37 hours per week from their pay or from their PTO. If a salary employee works half a day, their salary or PTO would be docked as well when the employee’s average weekly hours are over 40. Is this legal?

Asked on June 6, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not legal. A salaried employee's hours are not counted--only their full days. If a salaried employee works at all during a day, he or she is paid his or her daily salary. Only if he or she misses a full day can his or her weekly pay be reduced (by one days' worth; e.g. 1/5th) or he or she forced to use PTO.
Of course, there are many things that an employer *can* do to a worker who misses work (e.g. comes in late, leaves early, long lunches, etc.): except to the extent prohibited by a written employment contract (if any), the employer could suspend the worker, reduce his  or her salary going forward, demote or transfer him or her, or even terminate the employee. About the only thing the employer can't do is dock salaried employee earnings for being short hours.


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