Can salary be docked if you work 40 hours in 4 days instead of 5?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Can salary be docked if you work 40 hours in 4 days instead of 5?

My employer informed me recently that I will only be paid for 8 hours each day I
am there regardless of how many I work. I am a salaried manager of a restaurant
in Tennessee. I normally work 60 hours and 7 days each week. Last week I worked
44 hours in 4 days and then went out of town for 3. Even though I worked over 40
hours my salary was docked by 8 hours. I rarely take vacations so I was not aware
of this policy. I would understand my pay being cut if I had not worked 40 hours.
They told me that it is the based on the number of shifts in a two week period.
If I had worked 7 days the week before I would have received my full pay. It
would average out to 10 shifts. I worked 104 hours in that 2 week pay period. Is
it legal for them to dock my pay like that?

Asked on July 27, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

A salaried employee's hours are not counted, but the days they work are--or rather, if they work less than the usual workweek, the shortfall is counted. The normal workweek is based on 5 days. If you work 5 or more days per week, it doesn't matter if you work 2 hours or 12 each day: you get your normal weekly salary, no more and no less. But if you work less than 5 days, for each day less you work, you lose one day's worth (i.e. 1/5th your weekly) salary), even if you work in excess of 40 hours total during the remaining days. That's why salaried employees need paid time off (like sick or vacation days) when they take days off from work, since taking or missing a whole day reduces pay unless you have PTO.

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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