Is the manager lying?
July 11, 2007 7:14 AM   Subscribe

Does the U.S. Dept. of Labor prohibit makeup hours for salaried employees?

A co-worker was sick and took a half day. She told the office manager that she would make up the time by staying late for the rest of the week. She told her that the Dept. of Labor does not allow that, and the time would have to come out of her sick days.
I read through DoL regulations concerning hours and flex time, and it appears to be completely at the discretion of the place of employment.

Has anyone ever heard of a DoL regulation stating this? Or is the office manager simply lying?
posted by Cat Pie Hurts to Work & Money (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well, the office manager is either lying or simply wrong. This happens all the time, and, besides, even if it were prohibited by law, it would only be enforceable if the employer mandated that the employee make up the time. Who, exactly, would be filing the lawsuit or criminal complaint if the employee voluntarily works makeup hours?

In any case, the US Department of Labor has no such regulation. It is possible, however highly unlikely, that one of the fifty states has a law like that, but as I said it seems to me (though of course IANAL) that it would be unenforceable in this case.
posted by cerebus19 at 7:23 AM on July 11, 2007

There is no regulation prohibiting workers from making up sick leave time during the same work week (but there's also no regulation requiring employers to accept such an arrangement, either).

Giving the office manager the benefit of the doubt, it could easily be that she's not lying, just misinformed. The FLSA can be a tough nut to crack even for employment lawyers. She may very well have been thinking of the "comp time" principle -- comp time as a substitute for paid overtime is prohibited for non-exempt employees* under the FLSA (unless the time is made up in the same pay period).

*your question provides insufficient information to determine if your co-worker is exempt. Even though she's salaried, she may still be non-exempt under the FLSA
posted by pardonyou? at 7:43 AM on July 11, 2007

Salaried workers have no hourly standard. There is no law concerning minimum vacation time or sick time for salaried workers.

The company is free to have a standard such as "All salaried employees must work 24 hours per day, every day of the year. There is no sick or vacation time. Anyone deviating from this by one minute will be fired." This policy would make employee retention difficult but it is not illegal in the USA. (In most Western nations it would be.)

While the office manager is free to be a prick they should not blame it on the Department of Labor.
posted by jellicle at 7:44 AM on July 11, 2007

Is the employee exempt or non-exempt? If the employee is truly exempt then the manager is probably worried that making up time off makes the position look more like a non-exempt position in terms of hours and pay and that such practice could cause them to lose the exemption, whereupon overtime pay etc. would become mandatory. I am no expert in this area, but I think the manager is being overly cautious if this is the case.
posted by caddis at 7:55 AM on July 11, 2007

Response by poster: The employee is exempt.
But it still appears that the manager is either misinformed (doubtful, as he has been caught lying to employees in the past) or just afraid to say that it's his policies in play and not the DoL.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:03 AM on July 11, 2007

This policy would make employee retention difficult but it is not illegal in the USA. (In most Western nations it would be.)

Oh yes indeed. Sometimes I'm very glad to be a Brit. We may have the longest working hours in Europe allegedly, but even salaried employees have stringent protections in law from this kind of crap.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:15 AM on July 11, 2007

um, I would file this under Manager Discretion. Sounds like that office manager has a policy about sick time where any sick time is considered a sick day, which can't be made up.

Other managers might be more flexible in that regard.

I doubt the department of labor has specific guidelines about when or not hours during the day taken for sick time or personal appointments can be made up.

Perhaps the manager was merely referencing the department of labor when she really meant company policy.
posted by indigo4963 at 12:44 PM on July 11, 2007

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