Can my employer deduct pay if I am salary when I attend my shift?

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Can my employer deduct pay if I am salary when I attend my shift?

I receive 1 PTO day per quarter (4 annual). I left at 2:00 pm instead of 6:00 pm even though my hours were adjusted all week to amount to 40 hours as approved by my supervisor. My owner then said I had to use a PTO day or take it unpaid, even though I was at work for more than 50% of the day. My question is, If I am salary, how can they deduct my pay if I was in attendance at work? I thought an exempt employee must receive the full salary for any week in which the employee performs any work, regardless of the number of days or hours worked.

Asked on June 6, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You are not quite right: a salaried employee must be paid his/her full salary if he or she only missed a few hours, but an employer may lawfully reduce salary by a full day at a time, if the employee misses a full day (or multiple days) of work. So if you missed the entire day, the employer could pay you for one less day.

The employer would therefore seem to have to pay you for that day, based on what you write. Note that if there had been a policy in place in advance that if an employee misses hours at work, he or she is forced to use a PTO day to cover that absence, that would be legal--employers are not required to provide PTO in the first place, and if they choose to provide it, may put various rules, restrictions, limitations, etc. on its use, including that it must be used to cover time out or away from work. However, such a policy would need to be in place in advance, before you missed the hours; it may not be imposed after the fact.

Also be aware that salaried or not, if you do not have an employment contract to the contrary, an employer may terminate you if you missed work without permission or approval, or without using PTO to cover the absence.


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