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Exempt Employee with PTO & Deduction Issues Oklahoma

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  • Exempt Employee with PTO & Deduction Issues Oklahoma

    My husband is an exempt employee in a small firm in Oklahoma City. Almost all employees for this firm are exempt with the exception of student interns. Instead of disciplining exempt employees that are not working as they should, they have made two new policies -

    1. Employees are required to work from 8am to 5pm. If an employee comes to work at 8:30 am, they are required to take 1/2 hour PTO even if they work until 5:30pm. If PTO is not available, they will be deducted for 1/2 hour of work.

    2. The firm offers voluntary "lunch & learn" programs. The firm allows vendors to come on site and host these training programs. The firm provides lunch and the meeting space. The firm has decided that if the program runs more than an hour, they will require the employee to take PTO for the time the program has run over the hour. If PTO is not available, they will be deducted for the time over.

    I believe that these new policies are both wrong, but I have not been able to find where exactly it says that on the DOL website. Can someone assist?

  • #2
    For the sake of argument, we will assume that the employees are correctly classified as exempt; however, the likelihood that all employees in a company save student interns are correctly classifed as exempt is slim at best.

    1. Employees are required to work from 8am to 5pm. If an employee comes to work at 8:30 am, they are required to take 1/2 hour PTO even if they work until 5:30pm. If PTO is not available, they will be deducted for 1/2 hour of work.

    The bolded part violates the FLSA as exempt employees cannot be docked in partial day increments unless FMLA is involved or it is either the first or last week of employment. The rest is acceptable.

    2. The firm offers voluntary "lunch & learn" programs. The firm allows vendors to come on site and host these training programs. The firm provides lunch and the meeting space. The firm has decided that if the program runs more than an hour, they will require the employee to take PTO for the time the program has run over the hour. If PTO is not available, they will be deducted for the time over.

    Again, the bolded part is unacceptable under the FLSA. There is nothing inherently illegal about the rest although I do not approve of the policy as a whole.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      The company has several issues as a whole... Employment classifications being one of the more minor ones. LOL

      Just to clarify for me please... It is legal to require an exempt employee to take 1/2 hour PTO for showing up 30 minutes late to work or taking an additional 30 minutes at lunch even if the exempt employee still works a full eight hour day?

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      • #4
        "Exempt", "Non-Exempt", "hourly", "salaried" and other labor law concepts are a function of a federal law called the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). However PTO is not a function of federal law. The federal DOL is on record that nothing that happens with PTO/vacation is any of their concern.

        So you are trying to find out what the PTO rules are effecting "exempt" employees are. That is easy, there are none. These are completely unrelated laws.

        States can and sometimes do have rules on PTO/vacation, but it is unusual for the state to have rules that do the sort of thing you talk about. Maybe CA for example. But I have never heard of your state mentioned as having those types of rules.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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