Can a salaried employee asked to take unpaid leave?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a salaried employee asked to take unpaid leave?

I am a salaried employee. A recent holiday schedule came out and we are being

asked to take vacation, sick time or unpaid leave on 2 days this year, 12/26 and 12-31, are both regular work days. Obviously I am grateful for the extended time off, however if given the choice I would come in to work and earn my normal salary. Is it legal to force vacation, sick or unpaid leave on a salaried employee?

Asked on November 16, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal. An employer decides when they are open for business, not employees. While salaried staff do not have their pay cut if they miss a few hours in a day, so long as the work at least some time that day, if you don't work at all, the employer does not have to pay you for that day--and if they tell you to not work or they close for the day, you cannot legally work against their wishes. So they can close those days and tell employees that they will not be paid for them unless they choose to use paid time off.

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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