Exempt Employee Absences for Personal Reasons

As we posted last week, generally, if an exempt employee performs any work during the workweek, he or she must be paid their full salary.   One exception is that an employer need not pay an exempt employee for a full day absence from work for personal reasons. For example, if an exempt employee has exhausted their vacation or paid time off, and takes a full day off for a reason other than sickness or disability, the employer does not have to pay the employee for that full day. With a few very narrow exceptions, employers may not deduct for partial day absences for personal reasons, so if the employee takes 2½ days off for personal reasons, the employer may only deduct for the two full days off, not the ½ day.

From a practical standpoint, employers should have a written policy/procedure setting forth how exempt employees should keep track of different kinds of absences from work and when exempt employees will/will not be paid for the different absences.

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