In addition to performing certain job duties, employees must be paid on a salary basis to be exempt from the overtime laws. Many employees who are classified as exempt are not actually paid on a salary basis.
The salary basis test requires that employees receive the same amount in wages each pay period, regardless of the quality or quantity of their work. In other words, an employee's compensation cannot be reduced based on an employee's performance. It also cannot be reduced based on the number of days or hours an employee worked.
Therefore, if your employer docks your salary because you did not complete all of your work, you are entitled to overtime pay. If your employer docks your salary if you leave a few hours early, you are entitled to overtime pay.
The most common impermissible deduction is docking an employee's salary for partial-day absences. If you take off a half of a day, an employer can't dock your salary. Other common impermissible deductions are docking employees when there is no work to perform, or for jury duty attendance.
Some of the few instances in which your employer can permissibly dock your salary are your first and last weeks of employment (if you don't work a full week), personal absences of a day or more (not for sickness or accidents), and absences under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
If you are classified as a salaried exempt employee, and your employer is making improper deductions from your salary, you are likely entitled to overtime pay.
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