If you have been designated as an exempt employee, meaning you are paid on a salary basis and do not receive overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of 40 hours, you are entitled to your full pay for any given week, even if you miss some time. Many employers want to have their cake and eat it too: they are more than happy to make you work more than 40 hours in a week without paying you any more than your set weekly salary, but as soon as you miss some time, they don’t think paying you for a full week is fair. If your employer deducts pay when you miss time, you may not be exempt from overtime compensation after all, and you may be eligible to receive a substantial amount of unpaid overtime compensation.
In general, an employer must pay its salaried employees on a true “salary basis” in order to be exempt from paying those overtime compensation. An employee is paid on a salary basis if he or she “regularly receives each pay period on a weekly, or less frequent basis, a predetermined amount constituting all or part of the employee’s compensation, which amount is not subject to reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of the work performed”. That means if you make $52,000 per year and receive $1,000 per week, your employer cannot pay you less if you come in three hours late due to a doctor’s appointment one day, or if you miss two days due to jury duty. If your employer makes such deductions, they are not paying you on a true “salary basis”, and may owe you for some or all of the overtime you have worked without pay in the past.
There are some exceptions to this rule. Your employer may deduct time for whole days missed for personal business (NOT for illness or disability). If you miss two days for personal business, your employer may reduce your pay for the week by the equivalent of two days. If you miss one and a half days for personal business, your employer may only deduct for one day. Deductions may be for one whole day only. Even though time missed due to illness or disability is generally not deductible, time taken off under the Family and Medical Leave Act is deductible.
You may also have your pay docked as a penalty for violations of safety rules of major significance. You may have your pay reduced for disciplinary suspensions of one or more full days (again, not half days). For a full list of the exceptions to the general rule, see 29 C.F.R. § 541.602.
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If you are a salaried employee and think you have been denied overtime pay, call a Cincinnati employment lawyer at Robert A. Klingler Co., L.P.A. to discuss your situation. Overtime laws are complex, and every worker’s situation is unique. We will discuss your situation free of charge and determine whether or not you are entitled to unpaid overtime compensation.