Can an employer dock a salary employee for working half a day or require them to use PTO for the half day not worked?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an employer dock a salary employee for working half a day or require them to use PTO for the half day not worked?

An employer wants to dock salary employees who do not work a minimum of 37 hours per week from their pay or from their PTO. If a salary employee works half a day, their salary or PTO would be docked as well when the employee’s average weekly hours are over 40. Is this legal?

Asked on June 6, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not legal. A salaried employee's hours are not counted--only their full days. If a salaried employee works at all during a day, he or she is paid his or her daily salary. Only if he or she misses a full day can his or her weekly pay be reduced (by one days' worth; e.g. 1/5th) or he or she forced to use PTO.
Of course, there are many things that an employer *can* do to a worker who misses work (e.g. comes in late, leaves early, long lunches, etc.): except to the extent prohibited by a written employment contract (if any), the employer could suspend the worker, reduce his  or her salary going forward, demote or transfer him or her, or even terminate the employee. About the only thing the employer can't do is dock salaried employee earnings for being short hours.

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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