If a salaried employee works less than the agreed upon 40 hours, is the company authorized to apply PTO to make up for the remaining hours?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If a salaried employee works less than the agreed upon 40 hours, is the company authorized to apply PTO to make up for the remaining hours?

An employee worked 30 hours one week. Our employee handbook states that full-

time crew members shall consist of 40 hours per week. Can we deduct accrued PTO

time to make up for the hours or do we have to pay them full salary regardless?

Asked on October 1, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You have to pay the full salary if he worked every day he is supposed to: a salaried worker must be paid his day's salary (e.g. one fifth of his weekly salary, assuming the usual 5 work days/week) if he works at all on a regular work day and cannot be docked pay for short hours. This also means you can't require the use of PTO for short hours. If he did not work one of his regular days at all, you do not need to pay him for that day, however. (So if he worked M-Th, but not Fri when he should have worked Friday, you don't have to pay for Friday, or could require him to use PTO for that day to be paid.) You can also, if you like reduce his pay going forward (either permanently or temporarily) for working short hours; suspend him for working short hours; or even terminate him--but again, if he worked all his usual days, even if not as many hours as he should have, he must get his full salary.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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