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Exempt employee right to salary when office is closed due to natural disaster

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  • Exempt employee right to salary when office is closed due to natural disaster

    I am an exempt employee for a Texas employer with approximately 54 employees. My employer's offices were closed for 3 days due to Hurricane Rita. I was told by my employer that if I wanted to be paid for these 3 days that I would have to use accrued vacation time and/or sick leave or be docked. Is this legal or does it violate the Texas or federal employment laws?

  • #2
    It is legal for them to require you to use vacation or other personal time. It violates neither Texas nor Federal laws.

    Now, if they told you that it would not be paid at all, that would be a different story. But the law only requires that you be paid; the law does not stipulate that the payment cannot come from any banked leave.
    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
      Do I the right to file a claim file a claim with the Texas Workforce Commission in addition to or in lieu of me using any accrued personal time?

      Comment


      • #4
        Not on the basis of what you've posted.

        As an exempt employee, you are entitled to be paid for the entire week if you work any part of the week, and you are being paid. Nothing in the law says that part of that pay can't come from your banked leave time.

        Whether you, or I, or anyone else thinks it fair that you be required to use your vacation time is immaterial. As long as you receive pay for those days, your employer 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.

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        • #5
          I am a supervisor working in Texas and I have several questions concerning this topic.
          1. Could you please provide a law reference pertaining to the fact that it is legal for an employer to require an exempt employee to use vacation or other personal time in the event that an office has to shut down due to an unforseen situation like a hurricane or plumbing problem?
          2. What is the reference that says that an employer has to pay an exempt employee for a full week even if that employee only work part of the week?
          3. Does an employer have to pay an exempt employee for a full day even when that employee only works part of a day, e.g. 2 hours, 4 hours or 6 hours?
          4. With regard to questions 1 or 2, what happens if an exempt employee does not have any accrued personal time? Is there paycheck docked or what?

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          • #6
            1. Could you please provide a law reference pertaining to the fact that it is legal for an employer to require an exempt employee to use vacation or other personal time in the event that an office has to shut down due to an unforseen situation like a hurricane or plumbing problem?

            It's not that there is a law saying it's legal; it's that there isn't a law saying it's not.

            2. What is the reference that says that an employer has to pay an exempt employee for a full week even if that employee only work part of the week?

            That's imbedded in the FLSA.

            3. Does an employer have to pay an exempt employee for a full day even when that employee only works part of a day, e.g. 2 hours, 4 hours or 6 hours?

            Yes, unless the time s/he misses is covered under FMLA. That is the ONLY time an exempt employee can have their salary docked in partial day increments. However, it is legal in 49 states (and sometimes in the 50th) for the employer to use vacation, sick or personal time to cover that gap.

            4. With regard to questions 1 or 2, what happens if an exempt employee does not have any accrued personal time? Is there paycheck docked or what?

            In the circumstances described in the original post and question 1 above, the exempt employee would have to be paid anyway, regardless of whether they had PTO or vacation time available or not. However, in circumstances when the employer CHOOSES to take time off for personal reasons, or in some (but not all) cases because of illness, THEN the salary can be docked in full day increments.
            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


            • #7
              cbg is right on, as usual. Here's the definition of "salary basis" for exempt employees and the instances in which they can legally be docked pay:
              http://www.dol.gov/dol/allcfr/ESA/Ti...CFR541.118.htm

              But, to reiterate, that is "pay". If the employer requires you use your available PTO to substitute for your regular salary, that is perfectly legal.
              Last edited by Pattymd; 11-16-2005, 01:22 PM.
              I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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