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Salary Exempt and Forced PTO Texas

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  • Salary Exempt and Forced PTO Texas

    Good Morning,

    This is a follow-up to a question I posted a few months ago. Our company is mandating a company wide shutdown in April (recently, but not formally, moved up from June).

    Question: If a salaried exempt employee does not have sufficient PTO to cover the 40-hours, can the company legally deduct the pay for the hours which are lacking during the affected pay period? If not, can the company legally force the employee to go into the red (negative PTO accumulation) to cover those hours?

    I emphasize the "legally" in the questions in order to forgo ubiquitous answers such as, the company can do whatever they want. I'd like a reference to the FLSA that informs me of their right to do so if at all possible.

    Thanks as always.

  • #2
    If an exempt employee does not have sufficient PTO to cover the time the company is closed, s/he must be paid anyway. Nothing in the FLSA either prohibits nor requires the company from taking the employee into negative PTO as long as they receive pay when due.

    The operative words here are, nothing in the FLSA prohibits. The law does not have to give them explicit permission; if it is not prohibited, it is legal..
    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.


    • #3
      If you are talking a full week without work, the employer can have you use available PTO or they could simply not pay you at all. The employer could have you go into the red, but they are not legally required to do so nor prohibited from doing so.

      Partial week closures, though, are different. If you work any time during the week, your salary must be whole. That means the employer could use available PTO or have you go in the red or simply eat whatever time it must to make your salary whole.

      From the FLSA (

      (a) General rule. An employee will be considered to be paid on a ``salary basis'' within the meaning of these regulations if the employee regularly receives each pay period on a weekly, or less frequent basis, a predetermined amount constituting all or part of the employee's compensation, which amount is not subject to reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of the work performed. Subject to the exceptions provided in paragraph (b) of this section, an exempt employee must receive the full salary for any week in which the employee performs any work without regard to the number of days or hours worked. Exempt employees need not be paid for any workweek in which they perform no work. An employee is not paid on a salary basis if deductions from the employee's predetermined compensation are made for absences occasioned by the employer or by the operating requirements of the business. If the employee is ready, willing and able to work, deductions may not be made for time when work is not available.
      Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.


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