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Employment Law/Exempt Employee not paid for days site closed

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Question
Hello,

 I'm an exempt employee at a construction site and am paid a salary. I am compensated for overtime with straight time overtime. During the past few weeks we have been experiencing weather not typical to the area and the site was closed. We were allowed to work monday and half a day Tuesday and were able to charge for 20 hrs. The rest of the week and weekend the site was closed. Makeup chances were not given. We were instructed that we must take our vacation pay if we want to be paid for our 40 hrs. If not we would have to charge the other 20 hrs to unpaid leave. As an exempt employee I do not receive 1.5 time over time.I thought I would be guaranteed the salary if the site was closed but it seems I will have to use my vacation pay.This affects about 400 exempt employees on my site and we are all questioning this. Our company polices say we would get paid for the time off as charge code "office closed" but when we brought that up to HR, they stated that the procedure was no longer the correct procedure, though the new procedure was not clear and referred back to the one they said was no longer valid. This is a clip of the e-mail we received when they closed the site. Thanks for any help you can give me

Exempt Employees
  For those days/shifts where employees reported to work and were dismissed early due to inclement weather, employees will be paid for the scheduled work day/shift. For days/shifts where the site is closed, employees will be paid but are required to use paid time off.
  If the project elects to schedule make up days/shifts within the same work week, employees may work during this time in lieu of using paid time off.
Your safety is our number one priority, so we encourage you to strongly adhere to public safety recommendations and to follow emergency preparedness procedures.

Answer
Unfortunately the company can do this. Since PTO or Vacation time is not mandated by law but given by the employer they are allowed to say when it may or may not be used. The Exemption standards simply say you must be paid for the time, they do not specified by law from which pot you are paid. If PTO is there the company can pay you with the PTO.

Shirley

Employment Law

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Shirley McAllister, CPP, PHR

Expertise

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).

Experience

30 years in Payroll and Human Resources

Organizations
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

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

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