Can an employer deduct your salary pay if you miss half a day?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an employer deduct your salary pay if you miss half a day?

I worked 800 a.m. – 1230 p.m. yesterday, but left for the remainder of the day
due to a personal issue. My employer threatened to dock my salary pay based on
the time missed. Is this legal?

Asked on January 19, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Legally, an employer may NOT deduct pay from a salaried employee for missing a partial day: if they do so, they endanger the status of that employee as salaried, since they are treating them as hourly (i.e. counting hours worked) and would then potentially have to pay for all hours worked, pay overtime if/when applicable, etc.
You could contact the state department of labor, to see if they could help you with this, or sue (e.g. in small claims court) for the money. Before doing that, consider though that the employer *could* legally demote you; reduce your salary; suspend you; or even terminate you for leaving for half a day. While what they did is illegal, their legal options to discipline or punish you are worse.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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