Can an employer switch a salaried Exempt employee from one pay period to hourly the next if they work less than 40hrs?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an employer switch a salaried Exempt employee from one pay period to hourly the next if they work less than 40hrs?

If I’m supposed to be paid salary and I’m exempt if I work less than 40 hours for a week because I went home sick 2days do they still have to pay me my regular salary pay? I’m being told that because I’m a new employee and not there for 6 months yet they can switch to hourly and only pay actual hours worked. They also state they don’t have to pay for holidays either if I’m not there for 6 months even

though they are chosing to close for the day.

Asked on November 17, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) Your status cannot be changed retroactively: that is, for work already done, or time already worked. You performed that work in exchange for pay at a certain rate or in a certain way; since you did your part (you did the work), they must honor that understanding and pay you the way you were then supposed to be paid.
2) Going forward, however, they can change your status at will, from the moment they announce the change onward.
3) As a salaried employee, if you miss entire days of work, they do not have to pay you for those days, unless you used sick days or PTO for your absence. Salaried employees are paid for any day they did any work, but not for days they missed entirely.
4) Holiday pay is not required by law; it is voluntary for employers to provide it. Since it is voluntary for them, they can set rules or conditions on it, such as that you only receive it after 6 months. After all, they don't need to pay employees for holidays at all if they don't want to.

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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