Is it legal for my employer to require me work a couple of 3 hour shifts on 2 separate days but dock my sick pay for 6 hours if I miss either 3 hour shift?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal for my employer to require me work a couple of 3 hour shifts on 2 separate days but dock my sick pay for 6 hours if I miss either 3 hour shift?

I teach online classes. I am required to have 6 hours office hours each week. My employer assigned me two 3 hour shifts on Separate days for office hours and credits me 3 hours For each day I attend. However, if I miss one 3 hour shift the district docks my sick pay 6 hours a full day and if I miss both they dock me 12 hours 2 days Antelope Valley Union HigbSchool District

Asked on December 12, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

IF you have a union agreement which covers this situation, the employer can do whatever the agreement says--and only what it says. The union agreement is a contract, and its terms bind and are enforceable against both employer and employee. If there is an agreement and it is helpful to you, as a beneficiary of the contract, you could likely sue to enforce it, if the union itself will not help.
If you don't have a union agreement covering this situation and are an hourly employee, this is likely illegal: hourly employees must be paid for all hours worked under the law (e.g. under the Fair Labor Standards Act), and docking sick time you earned if you don't work a shift is effectively taking away hours from you (e.g. if you work 30 hours but lose 6 hours of paid time off, you are effectively only being paid for 24 hours--but as an hourly employee working 30 hours, should be paid for all 30 hours). In this event, contact the state or federal department of labor to file a complaint--you should have a viable case.
If you are salaried employee and were told about or otherwise made aware of this policy before it was implemented against you, they can probably do this. Your weekly salary is independent of the hours worked, so this would likely not be seen as effectively debiting your work hours. Being aware of this policy about the accrual and retention of sick leave and then continuing to work there despite it may be seen as agreement to/with it.

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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