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Employment Law/Exempt Retail store Manager


Hi! I'm a store manager for a retail company with over 20 stores in several states. I have multiple questions.

Managers are exempt and required to work 45 hours per week. We punch a manual clock with the hourly employees and report our hours and sales commissions every 2 weeks along with the hourly folks. We are paid on the 15th and last day of the month and anything under 90 hours for the 2 week period must be taken as either vacation or personal (sick) time.  If we go 'in the hole' on either or both of personal or vacation time, we continue to be paid our salary and the deficit is allowed to grow. The deductions are put on the payroll sheet down to the hundredth of an hour, but there is some question as to how it's actually applied by the person who does payroll. We have neither an HR or payroll department or person. Hourly is handled by an accounting clerk and salary by the controller overseen rather closely by our mostly retired founder. While I understand that PTO is not a federally or state mandated requirement, I wonder if their methods are quite up to legal standard. Can they nickel and dime those deductions or should they use the standard I've seen online of deducting only in half or full day increments?

As a separate issue, I've just seen your concept of a "working manager" and am intrigued. One of our main duties is selling and we are expected to be the "sales leader" in our stores. I've not heard of any actual disciplinary action against those who are not sales leaders, but it is mentioned in informal reviews pretty often. We are also required to do whatever it takes to operate the store including unloading trucks, restocking, banking, supply shopping and cleaning. We actually spend very little time doing the administrative tasks of running a store such as payroll, scheduling, coaching etc. We are consistently told that we should spend all our time on the sales floor, and to let hourly people go early during slow times. Along with orders to work more hours ourselves along with cutting hourly sales people's shifts. Does that make me a "working manager" and not subject to the OT exemption?

In full disclosure I do have the ability to hire and fire, meaningful authority within the store and supervise at least 2+ FTE's during the year. Other managers do not necessarily have all 3 of those however. I'm still not convinced we should be exempt with our duties and standards. What do you think?

Thanks for your time and expertise.

First of all you are being treated as an hourly employee. You are doing hourly employee work. You do not have power to make decisions of importance for the company.
Exempt employees should not be docked time except for 1/2 and 1 full days.

My suggestion would be to contact your Georgia Department of Labor and tell them that you think you might be classified as exempt when you are actually non exempt. Ask them is they can help you classify your position. If they classify you as non exempt they will let the company know that they must pay you as non exempt. This would mean that all hours over 40 would be overtime.

You might also mention the PTO time to them although I am not sure they will be much help in that area. It wouldn't hurt to tell them.


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Shirley McAllister, CPP, PHR


I can answer questions about payroll laws and payroll tax laws and Human Resource laws and agencies. I can answer federal payroll and human resource law questions and most states; I do not have a knowledge of the local taxes for cities and counties within the state. If and when I can I will try and send you the website where you can reference the answer and where you can obtain more information as well as a contact number if needed for that particular agency. Some agencies I have worked with are IRS, Department of Labor (federal and state), Revenue Canada (and provincial governments), Inland Revenue, OSHA (0ccupational Safety and Health Administration); Social Security Administration and National Child Support as well as other agencies in Payroll and Human Resources. Some Laws I am particularly familiar with are FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act), ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act), FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act ) , QDRO's, QMCSO's, and other support orders and garnishments, USERRA (Uniformed Services Employment and Remployment Rights Act,PPA Act (Pension Protection Act of 2006, As well as most other employment type acts. I am also well versed in the Title V Civil Rights Act and the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).


30 years in Payroll and Human Resources

SHRM (Society of Human Resources) APA (American Payroll Association) DOLEA (Department of Labor Employers Association) CPA (Canadian Payroll Association) NAPW (National Association of Professional Women) The Mentoring Network

PHR Certification in Human Resources CPP Certification in Payroll in U.S. Payroll Administrator and Payroll Supervisor certification in Canada

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