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Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

By TomSal ·
Ok something is bothering me and I hope someone with real Human Resource/Management knowledge can help me out on this one.

I'm salaried, been working for the same company just over 8 years. We are based in NJ.

Right now I have an on-going health problem, so I've been going to a specialist for different tests and consultations -- 3 times in the last 4 weeks. The specialist is hard to see after work hours, so I have little choice but to make a day appointment and leave work for 1-2 hours then I come back to work.

Well my employer deducts these hours automatically from my sick time. I have nearly 100 hours of sick time stored up (4 years straight I got perfect attendance award) -- so I'm not **** about losing time...but I am aggravated at the principle of it.

I spoke with several people online and off casually and they all seem to think its not legal for my employer to do so -- because I am salary.

Is this true? Should I be barging into my company's HR office all kinds of mad?

Or do company's have a right in the USA to set their own policies of this nature?

Please help -- I still have more doctor appointments because they can't find out what's wrong so if this keeps up my time will slowly drip away.

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At first glance

by maxwell edison In reply to Serious HR Question That ...

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It seems to me that a company is not obligated to accommodate the hours of your doctor - or your kid's school, or anything else you may (personally) need to attend to. Many companies don't even want you spending sick time on doctor's visits, at least not from my experience. If you have a bunch of sick hours built up, and you lose a few of them, what's really the harm?

When it comes to things like that, whether it be in business, with family (especially kids), or with life in general, I always look at the "chip" analogy. We have a limited number of "chips" we can spend on issues. And borrowing from the book, "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff", I never spend my chips on the "small stuff". Because if you do, you'll find yourself without enough "chips" to tackle the things that really DO matter. (If you know what I mean.)

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By the way. . . .

by maxwell edison In reply to At first glance

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My observation doesn't come from a "Human Resources" perspective. In fact, my company is rather small (under 50), and we don't even have a Human Resources department. So mine was just a casual observation. I have no idea how other larger companies deal with such matters.

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Thanks Maxwell

by TomSal In reply to By the way. . . .

Thanks for your insight Maxwell, you do make sense and I guess I am just rattled more than I should be because I'm starting to not enjoy this place anymore for MANY reasons.

But that's another post.

I'll just brush it off my shoulder I guess and hope my health problems get solved instead of worrying about the sick hours it uses up.

Thanks man.

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Something you said. . .

by maxwell edison In reply to Thanks Maxwell

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You said you're, "starting to not enjoy this place anymore for MANY reasons".

Man, oh man, can I relate. I know exactly what you mean. Without exception, absolutely EVERY morning I ask myself why I'm going to "that place" again. One of these days.......

Hey, at 7:00 eastern time, have a beer, and so will I. Then we can "cry in our beer" together and think about how we hate our jobs - and how we're disappointed in ourselves for not doing anything about it.

We can compare notes some other time.

Have a good one.

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by jeff.allen In reply to Thanks Maxwell

Tomsal: I don't wish to be mean here, but isn't "sick" leave for when you are sick?
If you have 100+ hours' accrued and you need to spend it on doctor's visits, why shouldn't you?
And why shouldn't your company dock your sick leave when you go and visit the doctor?

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Yes but....

by malcolm.reid In reply to

I understand where you are coming from but here is another perspective, I am sure that in Tomsal's 8 years of perfect attendance there were many days that he worked 10, 12 or even 14+ hours. At what point do employees expect some reciprocity. As a manager I try to use discretion with my team. If a person has been busting his/her butt and now needs a few hours to take care of Dr's appt or whatever personal business, I give it to them. What is the hurt. The employee doesn't feel like that are always giving, and in the long run, will be more loyal.

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From a Northern Perspective

by Oz_Media In reply to Serious HR Question That ...

I know I can't speak of your own employment laws but they REALLY don't have that many differences between US and Canada in this respect.

A company hat pays you salary now compared to one 15 years ago is in a much different position.

It USED to be that if you were salaried , you were paid regardless of hours worked.

NOW, salary is just a glorified term for hourly wage, it's kinda like placing a salary cap on an emloyee, you can't earn more, but they can deduct your wages if you are not at work.

THis does differ based on your employment contract, IF you have it in writing that they wil pay you a fixed monthly wage, then you will get a fixed salary.

If not, it is actually quite flexible but toward the employers benefit, as opposed to the EMPLOYEES benefit as it used to be.

In order to be certain, call you LOCAL employment standards branch, get the details and laws surrounding YOUR state.

They will also act anonymously on your behalf if the boss needs to be reminded of the laws.

But from my perspective, under the employment standards act ammendments of 2002, they do not HAVE to pay you for that time,however most do anyway.

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Been There, Done That, Got The T-Shirt...

by tjmeagher In reply to From a Northern Perspecti ...

I too have gone thorough what you are currently going through. According to the Federal Department of Labor investigator I spoke to, the company has every right to deduct your missed hours from your sick time. When you are out of sick time, they have to pay you for a full day?s work for any day that report to work and actually work a partial day. The catch is, they can advance sick time from future allotments to cover any of your partial day off day worked. The can of course decide to give you extra sick time out of the kindness of there hearts (bit don't count on it). If you reach the point where you have no more sick time, or the company is really giving you a hard time for time missed, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. All companies should have a point of contact for employees that have medical disabilities (HIPAA requirement). This POC will, on request, provide Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) documentation with sections for you and your doctor to fill out. Once completed, you will be listed as an employee that either needs to take an extended medical leave or, as in your case, will need to take incremental time off due to a personal illness. This allows you to take up to 12 weeks worth of time off, per one year period, with federal protection from termination. I would recommend that you also check with your state?s Health & Human Services Department (or equivalent) to see if you might be afforded any other employment protections by your state.

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Two step process

by DC_GUY In reply to Serious HR Question That ...

First, talk to HR. Don't complain, just tell them about your situation and ask what company policy is. You'd be surprised how many company policies leave a lot up to the discretion of the individual manager. And how many managers don't know company policy.

If there is a policy and your manager is following it, you're stuck.

If there is a policy and your manager is passing his own rules that are stricter than they need to be, then you must talk to the manager. There's a reason he or she is treating you this way. It could be ignorance of the rules, it could be the relationship you've established with him or her isn't so great, or he or she might just be a big jerk. In any of these cases you may have to spend some of your "chips," but at least you know that you have HR on your side so the manager is treading on dangerous ground by making his or her own rules.

If the company is so small that there simply is no policy, then you need to talk to a lawyer. Find out what the laws are in your state and whether the company is violating them, which could be the case if they're enforcing a rule that isn't in your contract. Again, you might have to cash in a "chip" to change things.

But it always helps to know where you stand.

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I agree

by ramonas In reply to Two step process

DC Guy has it exactly. Took the words out of my mind. You might also check out the coverage you might have should you need to go on disability later.

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