Can pay be deducted for family/sick absence?

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Can pay be deducted for family/sick absence?

I’m in the plumbing and septic business. My employer has recently required us to sign a paper stating that we have to pay $500 a day for missing a day of work. I have a pregnant wife who has had some health issues

throughout her pregnancy thats required me to miss work. Along with seasonal sickness myself. Is this lawful?

Asked on December 23, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

It is legal if you agreed to it--people can agree or contract to do things which are, frankly, very bad for them. Having agreed that you have to pay if you miss work, you'd have to pay if you miss work. While you may be able to fight the obligation on the grounds that this agreement is against public policy by penalizing employees for taking care of themselves or family members, understand that it will be uphill fight: on the face of it, contracts are enforceable, and so it is the exception, not the rule, to be able to invalidate a contract on public policy grounds. Thus, if you incur these penalties and try to fight them in court, the burden would be on you to prove that agreement should be enforced, and you could not count on being successful (and certainly not on being successful swiftly or inexpensively). You would be well advised to seek other employment as soon as possible. 


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