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Several Questions re: Colorado Exempt Salaried Employees Colorado

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  • Several Questions re: Colorado Exempt Salaried Employees Colorado

    I am a salaried exempt employee in Colorado. I have a few questions:

    1. I was wondering about the exact rules regarding docking pay. I have read that the employer has the ability to dock pay for missing time as long as it comes out of vacation/sick time. My first question is where is the law where this is written. What if I would prefer for it to come only out of my sick time and not my vacation time? Is that something that only the employer can decide? What are salaried exempt employees rights? Does it matter that I generally always work over 40 hours a week?

    2. We are expected to work 40 hours a week and we are required to take a 1 hour, specifically unpaid, lunch break. How does this work for exempted salaried employees? Can the employer define how long the break can last if we are salaried? Is it okay to then deny the right to a 10 - 15 break during that time since we are forced to take that 1 hour unpaid lunch hour.

    3. Are there any laws in Colorado regarding unpaid time off that is non-FMLA leave? Or is that something that's just between the employer and employee?

    4. Where can I go to find out what the exact Colorado statutes are?

  • #2
    I was wondering about the exact rules regarding docking pay. I have read that the employer has the ability to dock pay for missing time as long as it comes out of vacation/sick time. Docking pay is an entirely different matter than attributing absence time to any paid time off benefits your employer provides. Your paycheck remains whole but your vacation/sick time/personal time "account" is debited for the absence.

    What if I would prefer for it to come only out of my sick time and not my vacation time? That's not a decision you get to make.

    Is that something that only the employer can decide? Yep.

    What are salaried exempt employees rights? Exactly the same as any other employee with the exception of a few wage and hour provisions that only apply to the manner in which exempt employees must be paid.

    Does it matter that I generally always work over 40 hours a week? Nope.

    We are expected to work 40 hours a week and we are required to take a 1 hour, specifically unpaid, lunch break. How does this work for exempted salaried employees? You work 40 hours a week and take an hour lunch. As an exempt employee, your lunch is neither paid nor unpaid. You receive the same salary each week regardless of the number of hours you work (with a few exceptions allowed in the FLSA.)

    Can the employer define how long the break can last if we are salaried? Yes. Employers get to dictate work schedules regardless of FLSA status.

    Is it okay to then deny the right to a 10 - 15 break during that time since we are forced to take that 1 hour unpaid lunch hour. Yes, assuming Colorado doesn't mandate breaks be provided. (Few States do; I'll have to check CO reg's on that.)

    Are there any laws in Colorado regarding unpaid time off that is non-FMLA leave? If you are absent in full day increments for purely personal reasons or are absent in full day increments due to illness after having exhausted any paid sick time benefit your employer provides, they do not need to pay you for the day(s.)

    Or is that something that's just between the employer and employee? Employers are never obligated to pay leave time, FMLA or otherwise.

    Where can I go to find out what the exact Colorado statutes are? http://www.coworkforce.com/


    Whew.

    Comment


    • #3
      1.) It's not that any law expressly gives the employer permission to make deductions from vacation and/or sick time; it's that no law prohibits it. In the absence of a law prohibiting an action, that action is deemed legal.

      2.) Regardless of whether you are salaried or hourly, exempt or non-exempt, full time or part time, it is the right of the employer to determine what hours you work, and that includes lunch breaks. Regardless of your status, if your employer says you take a one hour unpaid lunch break, then you take a one hour unpaid lunch break.

      Very few states actually require rest breaks, and in some of the states that do, the law only applies to non-exempt employees. I do not know what position CO, as one of the few states where rest breaks are required, has taken on the position of rest breaks for exempt employees. If mlane, our resident CO expert, does not happen by, that is a question you can ask of the CO DOL.

      3.) CO law requires an employer of over 50 employees to provide up to 3 days leave in some circumstances regarding domestic violence; it also requires that an employer who provides leave for the birth of a child also provide the same leave for adoption. Other than that, any leaves not attributable to FMLA are a matter of company policy.

      4.) The CO state website.
      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.

      Comment


      • #4
        I know zip about Colorado law. I however know a lot about federal law, and some of your question are really federal law questions that the state of Colorado or Colorado employers have no ability change.

        The rules for Salaried Exempt employees are the 29 CFR 541.602 regulation, which is related to the federal FLSA law. Under law the term "docking" does not mean what you seem to think it means. Let's say that Bob is a Salaried Exempt employee normally paid $1,000 week and who works 8-8-8-8-4-0-0 this week. Federal law says that for this week Bob is paid $1,000, period, no exception. Federal law says that Bob cannot be docked for those 4 missing hours.

        Federal law however says nothing what-so-ever about benefit hour handling, including vacation and PTO. Reducing an employee's benefit hour balance is not "docking" under the legal definition of docking. In our Bob example, the federal government is fine if Bob's vacation balance is reduced by 4 hours, or completely eliminated, or if the employer spray paints Bob bright green, because none of the actions are legally part of federal law, and DOL is on record that they have no interest in what happens to vacation/PTO balances.

        The actual federal regulation on Salaried Exempt handling can be found below.

        http://www.dol.gov/dol/allcfr/ESA/Ti...CFR541.602.htm

        ------

        Any employer can make almost any employee work almost any hours the employer wants. This includes setting exact times for lunch or breaks. An Exempt Salaried employee is paid their salary "irregardless of actual hours worked" (with a few exceptions spelled out in the reguation). The lunch and breaks are neither paid or unpaid because the employee's fixed salary cover everything.

        Denying a break would be a function of state law (Colorado) which I do not know. Some states require breaks although some of those states do not require breaks for Exempt employees. Maybe someone who knows Colorado can address that point and your other CO specific questions.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

        Comment


        • #5
          This only applies to non-exempt employees but in Co.: Employers are required to give a meal period of 30 min. if an employee works 5 or more hrs. If the nature of the job doesn't allow for an uninterrupted meal period, the employee must be permitted to consume an "on duty" meal while performing duties. Such a meal period must be paid time. Also, every employer is required to provide a rest period in the middle of each four-hour work period. Moreover, a compensated 10 min. period for every 4 hrs. worked is permitted for all employees. Applies to public & private employers with various exceptions incl. elected officials & their staffs.
          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

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