Can an individual be docked their bonuses or a dollar an hour for being late?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an individual be docked their bonuses or a dollar an hour for being late?

Basically can an employer decide to pay you a dollar less an hour to discipline
an employee for being late?

Asked on May 13, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, employers can't dock hourly wages for late. The employer doesn't need to pay an hourly employee for any time she is not there (hourly employees are only paid for the time they are actually at work), but cannot otherwise take away pay.
A salaried employee will receive the same salary regardless of being late.
A bonus which has not been paid yet can be reduced, however, unless there is a written employment or bonus agreement laying out how the bonus is calculated or earned, and lateness is not a factor in that calculation. Unlike base wages or salary, there are no laws requiring or regulating bonuses, so employers have much more discretion in adjusting them based on employee behavior or performance, subject only to the terms of any written agreement.
Of course, there are other things can employer can do for late employees: they can be suspended, demoted, transferred, jobs changes, or even terminated. It's just that pay can't be docked.

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