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  • #2289290

    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 anal 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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    • #2702338

      At first glance

      by maxwell edison ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      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.)

      • #2702332

        By the way. . . .

        by maxwell edison ·

        In reply to At first glance

        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.

        • #2702308

          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.

        • #2702973

          Something you said. . .

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Thanks Maxwell

          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.

        • #2710562

          Reply To: Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

          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?

        • #3305258

          Yes but….

          by malcolm.reid ·

          In reply to Reply To: Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

          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.

    • #2702309

      From a Northern Perspective

      by oz_media ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      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.

      • #2710390

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

        by tjmeagher ·

        In reply to From a Northern Perspective

        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.

    • #2702991

      Two step process

      by dc_guy ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      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.

      • #2710140

        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.

        • #2710120


          by cocogodiva ·

          In reply to I agree

          In the US we have the FMLA(Family Medical Leave Act). It sounds like your situation applies. Check with your HR office for the paper work, that your primary physican will need to complete. I hope this helps.

        • #2710110


          by maecuff ·

          In reply to FMLA

          I believe FMLA is only valid if the company has 50 or more employees, and you have to be employed at the company for at least 12 months. This is a sketchy memory from a project I worked on with our HR department 2 years ago, so you may want to check out the details.

        • #2710106


          by cocogodiva ·

          In reply to FMLA

          Tomsal, didn’t mention the number of employees within the company he works for, although maxwell edison did say the company he works for has 50 employees.

        • #2709547

          The problem with FMLA in this situation

          by it_in_ut ·

          In reply to FMLA

          If you take FMLA, it is unpaid leave. That means that if he takes 1-2 hours a week to go to a Dr. appt. they will dock it from his salary. If he uses accrued sick time, he still gets paid his full salary. I am assuming he still wants to get paid his full salary.

          There are other things about FMLA, which I consider myself kind of an expert on since my wife had to use it when she was pregnant. FMLA can only kick in AFTER you have used pretty much all your accrued sick leave and also I think vacation time. You also just can’t take FMLA for any thing. My wife had some minor pregnancy complications that her Dr. was trying to keep from becoming major ones. She needed to keep working until our son was born because her health insurance coverage was 10X better and more affordable than what I could get at the time. She had to jump through all kinds of hoops and have her Dr. fill out all these forms to get the intermittent FMLA even approved. HR at her company actually didn’t think her condition was serious enough to warrant a reduced work day for her which her Dr. thought was ludicrous. Eventually she got it approved so that she would only work the 5-6 hours a day her Dr. said was the max she could be at work. The rest of the day she had to stay down in bed at home. Anyhow, she had to use all her sick leave and vacation time first before the FMLA could kick in. That ended up leaving her with only about 3 weeks on FMLA time left for maternity leave. Fortunately we had things worked out financially so that she could just quit her job to be home with our son and do some work part time through our own company as her time permits.

      • #2710099

        2nd step doesn’t mean a lawyer

        by karenf ·

        In reply to Two step process

        Rather than spending money on a lawyer, you might choose to go to your state’s website and look for their equivalent to the Labor Department. At a minimum, all states must follow a variety of federal labor laws. But some states have provisions that are more favorable to the employee than the minimum requires.

        You could also go to USDOL’s website at This will give you basic info and then lead you to your state’s requirements.

      • #2710081

        You may have a case..

        by hammaren9 ·

        In reply to Two step process

        I am an employer in NJ, and it is my understanding from having this discussion with my attorney that it is illegal to dock hours of a non-hourly employee, under a period of one week. Other little known ideosyncracies are that an employer cannot cut the hours of a salaried employee and thus reduce the salary, but they can reduce your pay to whatever they want as long as the hours remain full-time. Go figure. The problem you have though goes beyond any of this, since they can fire you without cause in NJ. I wish you luck. I for one have a bit more sympathy and will typically give personal time for a situation such as your.

      • #2709543

        Isn’t that what sick leave is for?

        by greynolds ·

        In reply to Two step process

        I am a manager at a local county government office. Our sick leave is used for doctor appointments, being sick (i.e. flu) and bereavement leave. The sick leave just allows us to get paid for time we are off, sick.

        Why would you think you would get paid if you are not at work?

      • #2709473

        So far the only sensible suggestion posted !!!!

        by ptorr ·

        In reply to Two step process

        DC_Guy has the right idea and suggestions.., Maxwell sounds like your “Manager” !!!!

        First gather all the Human Resources information that you can get and also what the Local city, county and state rules,codes and laws are exactly and then acquire the proper legal assistance to remedy this to your satisfaction…

        Remind your company about their “Ethical Responsilities” !!!! Either they are right or they are wrong.., period !!!!

        Stay strong and follow through with your resolution of this dilema…

        Good luck to and prayers that you regain your health…


    • #2702902

      Re: Serious HR question

      by karistetzer ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      If you are an exempt employee, then your employer can not deduct your sick time unless it’s made in conjunction with a bona fide sick pay policy that provides payment for
      absences that occur because of illness. Some employers may require you to work the minimum hours each week that your staff do. If you can get your work done in 15 hours per week, employers are still required to give you your full pay. Another thing. Deductions from salary may not be made for partial days of absence, regardless of the reason.

    • #2702899

      Prior experiance

      by thechas ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      I once worked for an employer who did the same thing.
      We had to take vacation time or no pay for any “lost” hours.

      After an anonymous complaint to the state labor board about this and several other “irregularities” in their pay practices, a number of changes were suddenly made in company policy:

      Salaried employees could no longer be “docked” for taking an hour or 2 off during the work day, so long as they had their supervisors approval.

      Nor, could they be docked or forced to work additional hours for an occasional “tardy”.

      Vacation time (we had no sick time) could only be taken in whole day increments.

      So, as I understand it, US labor law does require that a salaried employee be paid for the entire day even if they take an hour or 2 off on occasion.

      That said, as a “general rule” HR departments follow the line set by upper management for policies.
      You will likely get no satisfaction if you complain to HR.
      In fact, you are apt to get your name added to a list of “trouble makers”, and potential wistleblowers should you raise the issue.

      Other than this one job (the employer is rather draconian) EVERY salaried position that I have had has NOT docked me for any “reasonable” time away from work during the workday.


      • #2702866

        We don’t dock people either.

        by admin ·

        In reply to Prior experiance

        Comp time is illegal in our state, but flex time is not. If you went to our HR saying that you were concerned about this in the way you stated and asked if you could substitute the time in the evening when you would of preferred to it would be approved. If it wasn’t, at least it might be a non-threatening non-troublemaking sort of inquiry and give you some insight.

        It really depends on the company and HR culture though from what I have experienced.

        Good luck bro 🙂

        • #2710185

          I’m late here

          by it_in_ut ·

          In reply to We don’t dock people either.

          Just saw this thread. Before I became self employed, I never worked for a company that automatically docked the time either. If I needed to have a Dr. appt. during the day, as long as I made the time up during that pay period I didn’t have to take sick leave. Whenever possible I would use my lunch hour time as part of the Dr. appt., so for example if my appt. was at 2 pm, I would not take my lunch break at noon time and use my lunch break time later in the afternoon to go to my appt. If you are doing these kinds of things and they are still docking you then maybe you should chat with the HR dept. (if there is one) and find out the companies official policies on all that.

          I wouldn’t dock any of my employees unless they didn’t make up the time missed within the month.

    • #2704561

      Do you put in extra time on those days?

      by jimhm ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      Do you put in Extra time on those days – rather than starting at 7 – you start at 5 – or rather than quiting at 4 to work till 7 … do you give the company back the time???

      I have been in the same boat for the past 7 months… and put in extra time each day (1 or 2 hours) – when I have a doctors appointment – I cash in that time…

      If you aren’t giving back the time – then yepper – they can take that time off your sick hours… If you do put in the time – ask you boss why he isn’t counting that time…

      • #2714860

        JimHM has it right

        by jim87231 ·

        In reply to Do you put in extra time on those days?

        If you’re not WORKING at least 40 hours per week, OR you’re not completing your work assignments, you do not have a right to complain when the company attempts to account for your absence. Regardless of your salaried/exempt status, your manager is most certainly required to account for your absence if your not working a full week. So, talk to HR. Don’t be adversarial. Learn your options given company policy and state law. Then, WORK WITH your manager to account for you absence properly. While use of FMLA is reasonable path to pursue, the postings under the “FMLA” thread are way too adversarial. I would not recommend attorney strong-arm tactics until you know the company is negligently violating laws or contracts.

    • #2709649

      Is this company policy or is it just some manager trying to look good.

      by sleepin’dawg ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      A lot of people, new to managerment are insecure in there positions and think that by stringent cost cutting they can make themselves appear more efficient by lowering overhead. It can reach levels of asininity, to a point where employees have to charge requisitions for pencils and paper clips to job numbers so they don’t show up on departmental overhead. It looks good to the senior management when initially costs go down but it will often destroy employee morale and productivity as the easy going attitudes of a previous manager are done away with and resentments to these new methods set in. Soon people start to slowly drop away and the remaining staff grows increasingly resentful. Unfortunately this can go on until management wakes up to the turnover in what previously had been a contented staff. I somehow feel you have a new manager on the scene who is trying to prove himself and make himself look good on the backs of his staff. Perhaps senior management is unaware of the situation but eventually the decreased productivity will show up in lost profit growth and longer delays caused by the fact new staff has not risen to the previous output of thr old staff. I am making this assumption on the basis that you seem to have lost your previous enthusiasm and that is usually caused by a manager change. Your resentments are possibly causing a minor personality conflict with your new manager and he feels he has to show you who the boss is. You can try to keep your resentments in check and sit down with him and feel him out on the idea of working flex time to cover this situation. One other possibility is that he is a workaholic and he expects everyone to perform up to his level. If thats the case dust off your resume and start floating it around and you might even start the process by asking for a transfer to another department. You do not want to state any dissatisfaction with your manager openly. Managers are often leary of poaching staff from other departments so if you go shopping for a transfer look to acquire your new boss on a higher rung of the food chain than your current boss and it wouldn’t do any harm if it is someone who is not particularly impressed with your current boss. From the sounds of it you seem a tad overstressed and this could have something to do with your medical problems and could be used as a valid reason for a transfer. All this is assumption on my part and I could be totally out in left field but if I were a betting man I doubt I’m far off. I have no idea what your personal responsibilities are but again I’m assuming the traditional wife and 2.4 kids which also adds to your stress if your not happy with your job or boss and are feeling insecure. Have you thought of moving more to management and getting away from tech? You said you were in the job for eight years and in my day that used to be considered a lifetime. The changes that are in the pipeline are going to mean more learning just to maintain your current position but if you move towards the management side you can turn the intensity levels of the learning down a notch. I can remember when I was a hard charger and at the time I loved it but in the end it cost me a marriage and my kids, for a while. Whatever your decision is going to be, make sure that the sacrifices you will be making are worth it. For me, I took the job option but my marriage was not exactly solid, not her fault nor mine but one of those things where people grow in different directions and each has different goals in mind. Yes there were times of regret but I wouldn’t be where I am if I had done it differently and I probably still would have ended up divorced. I am not the easiest person in the world to live with, as I grew up an only child and have always lived my life pretty much on my own terms and gotten my own way. I am thankful I’m in the position I’m in because now I delegate to others the a lot of the stuff I used to do but I try to remember that not everyone is as driven to the extent I was. Those were my choices but they don’t have to be yours. What you need right now is to assess your situation maybe with your wife but that will be your decision not mine. You have to decide what you want, how badly you want it and what you are prepared to sacrifice to achieve it. When we are yong and foolish we enter the workforce full of piss and vinegar hoping someday to rise to be CEO. By now you should be able to evaluate the likelihood of your chances and alter your plans on a more realistic basis. Not everyone is meant to be a CEO otherwise we would all be living in a nation of chiefs with no indians. So take stock of things carefully and don’t make any snap decisions. I hope everything works out as you desire and that your medical problems are not too serious. Ciao.

    • #2710159

      Check your contract

      by sue’s comment ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      We have no such “laws” in the UK. My contract states the number of hours I have to work each week.

      I use UserLogger which records when I sign on and off of my PC. Then I give management a report each week. If you can show you are putting in the hours (plus some) then they shouldn’t deduct pay.

      Those not on the hours per week rule are required to book holiday for dental appointments! We get more “holiday” than you but no “sick time”!

    • #2710156

      Have you spoken to your manager or VP

      by waynew ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      Being an employer, I sit on the other side of the discussion, and dont believe its an HR issue. Have you discussed the problem with the VP and explained that the tests that are being done.

      From his/her side they just see you going off regularly and have a right to question. If you have shown your loyalty to them, they will do the same to you. Make sure you talk to the right person, (even if it means the CEO) and you will be heard.

    • #2710153

      Wake up

      by mike ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      The employer has every legal action to deduct sick time for sick / doctor appointments. That is what the time is for, doctor visits, actual sick days, mental health days, etc. Do you work the two extra hours at work that you are absent? If not, then the time should be deducted. Why don’t you simply read the handbook in your HR department that should explain the uses of sick leave.

      • #2710123

        Check the law

        by knot_mine ·

        In reply to Wake up

        The principle of salary, as defined in US labor law, says that you must be willing to work a few extra hours, if that is what it takes to get the job done. The flip side of salary is that you are entitled to go to the doctor or pick your mother up at the airport on occassion, WITHOUT being docked. That is the difference between being a salaried staff and an hourly worker.

      • #2710102

        WOW some of you don’t get it!

        by chrisban35 ·

        In reply to Wake up

        I really enjoyed some of the advice that was written for your question. ie, the “chips” theory was good, and so was the advice to consult with your HR in a more informative seeking response instead of from a posture approach. However, some people actually wrote you with semi-agressive vinegar in their tone. 🙂 WOW! Get a grip Mike! LOL Besides, I think Mike missed the fact that you are a “salaried” employee. Meaning that their are times when you probably do work the extra time and then are not paid for the extra efforts you apply on the other side of the coin.
        Look, as a previous GM of a larger company, 500+ employees, and now owning my own business, I have to tell you that these are the standards that apply for most situations: First, the right hand doesn’t always know what the left hand is doing. So do ask your HR department the points mentioned. However, ALWAYS, follow up with your own personal assessment as some HR departments aren’t neutral torwards there own standards. Meaning they may tell you one thing, but their Handbook touts a more softer line. I think the companies that would subtract one or two hours a month from a guy who has 8 years employment with my company is ridiculous. If you were my employee, I would not only allow you that time, but also would try my best to accomodate the time so that we could both be effective for one another. I believe that when the employer stops “genuinely” caring about his or her eomployees, the reverse action happens with the employee. As long as you are completing the “SAME” amount of workload, with the same quality of performance, PLEASE, by all means, go find out what is wrong with you. Which brings me to my last point. If you have something seriously wrong with you, and they can’t find out what it is, we’re talking about a life issue and not just a person playing hookie from work. Final note: Mike, if you worked for me, you’d be fired in less than a week. Why? Becuase you would drag down the overall performance of every person you came in contact with, with that type of an attitude torwards others!

        Chris Banzet

        • #2710005

          It’s a matter of balance

          by tundraroamer ·

          In reply to WOW some of you don’t get it!

          Unless your work time is scheduled for a specific time of day in order to perform your job, you should be able to be somewhat flexible to complete your tasks.
          I agree with C. Banzet comments especially in that you should be able to balance your “overtime” with time off for life’s issues. Do you take this time off in conjunction with lunch time? Are you reachable by cell phone while waiting in the Dr.’s office? Are you doing what is possible in order that the employer feels that are still getting a fair days work?
          If this is the only issue you have, you should be able to work it out without lawyers or some State department of something or other getting involved. If you have to do that, what do you really win? However, if your health concern turns out to be serious and you have employer provided health insurance, then you better consider that option to protect yourself as your next employer’s plan may have a waiting period for pre-existing conditions or not cover you at all. If that is the case, then you need to come to terms with those other problems you alluded to as well as this one.
          I know, demand a promotion and a raise, that will change the subject!

        • #2709550

          Well said

          by it_in_ut ·

          In reply to WOW some of you don’t get it!

          I feel the same way you do. If I have someone who has been a great employee and they hit a rough patch with their health I would absolutely do whatever I could to try and help them out as long as they were still trying to do a good job. I don’t really care what hours my salaried people work as long as they get their work done on time and give me the quality work that I know they are capable of. If someone tries to play a busybody and keep track of someone else’s hours I tell them that they either must A) not have enough of their own work to do to keep them busy or B) they are slacking off on their own job. Usually shuts the busybodies right up and if it doesn’t they’ll get written up for having an attitude problem.

          That said, my wife worked for a large international company in one of their software development divisions and even though she was salaried and very often had to work overtime to meet deadlines, if she took an hour or 2 during the day for a Dr. appt. she had to put it on the group calendar and then she was required to use sick leave for it, whether she ended up staying late to make up the time or not. It was the company policy.

        • #2722434

          I agree but it is often taken too far.

          by jw ·

          In reply to WOW some of you don’t get it!

          I have worked for the same company for 6 years. On an average over the 6 years I have put in 52 hours a week. I took time off to help my father plan my mothers funeral (3 days) and was docked for the time from vacation time, my company does not offer sick time. Whan I confronted my boss about his he said that was just the way it should be, they do not believe on paying anyone for time off. I asked about all of the overtime I have put in for the company and was tole I am salary and do not get overtime. I believe this to be truly unfair and biased in the company’s favor.

        • #3243004

          Where does honest production come from?

          by chrisban35 ·

          In reply to I agree but it is often taken too far.

          Well it’s sad that companies look at things from this perspective. Honestly, how long do you think it would take an employee hearing a response like that, to figure out the company cares ONLY about it’s best interests, and not the individuals interests as well? Probably within seconds of hearing that type of a comment. So, now let’s all be reasonable people, how much EXTRA emphasis am I going to put into my job from that day forward? The EXACT MINIMUM it takes me to KEEP my Job!!! That’s why I quit working for corporate America becuase the spreadsheet corporate knuckleheads who set up these Protocols haven’t got a CLUE what real company to employee relationships is all about. I call it corporate slavery. There’s a new set of commercials out for some vacation company and they are by far the funniest becuase they genuinely expose the “TRUE” corporate feelings towards employees. If you’ve seen them, you know which ones I am refering to.. LOL Anyway, treat your lowest employee as if you were the one working in that position and you will NEVER have a problem with production UNLESS it’s a personal character problem which will help you easily identify those who will help you in your quest to become a sucessful company. And by the way, I mark success by providing a good place to work for someone who can earn a good living and provide for their family and lifestyle. That’s success… Not how large your individual accounts are. When you take, in order to equal out the system properly, you MUST give back!!!

      • #2709964

        Hey buddy you have a problem?

        by tomsal ·

        In reply to Wake up

        Excuse me but I’ve been away from this topic for a while, just thought I’d check in again and I find your very arrogant sounding reply?

        You have a chip on your shoulder or something or you just naturally a jack ass?

        I asked an honest question which — 95% of the other folks posting took their time to answer in a professional manner, then their is yours — sounding like your day just sucked so you were grumpy and had be a smart ass to someone.

        Don’t mess me buddy, I’m not the type you want to mess with. If you don’t have something worth saying, then keep your yap shut — no one cares.


        • #3243014

          Yes he Does!!

          by chrisban35 ·

          In reply to Hey buddy you have a problem?

          I don’t understand what people like that seem to think they gain from rude comments and negative structure. Basically all they accomplish is putting a big sign above their screen name and person that says “HERE I AM, THE NUMBER ONE OFFICE JERK”!!!!!

    • #2710125

      Federal Family Medical Leave Act

      by loblack ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      I am a state employee of PA and here it is an employee at will state. I have been dealing with my own on going health issues and have found that the labor laws here seriously favor the employer. I (as a state salaried managerial employee) have had all my paid leave time used and in order to keep from being fired for poor attendance needed to invoke my Federal Family Leave Act Rights. This is a Federal standard that at least protects you from loosing your job for a valid serious health problem. All Employers need to adhere to this in some form. You are not guaranteed to be paid for the time you take for doctors? appointments but they can’t fire you as long as you are under this umbrella.

      Every state has there own employment laws so you need to check in with the Labor and Industry and the Equal Employment Opportunity agencies in your state to see what the specifics are for you. But all the states need to provide for adherence to the Federal Family Medical Leave Act. And just for the record I have finally been diagnosed with MS. So this will be an ongoing condition for the rest of my life that this employer will need to learn to deal with.

    • #2710114

      Factual Information

      by johnnva ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      The Fair Labor Standards Act and subsequent revisions address this issue. Salaried employees, with limited exception, may not have pay deducted when they have worked any part of a day. Employers in the United States are generally free to administer Leave policies, Sick Leave Policies, and Vacation Leave policies as they deem appropriate so long as policies are applied equally.

      The sad fact is that unless you are a member of a protected class, or an hourly employee, employers have most of the power.

      On a personal note, be thankful you are employed – many are not these days.

    • #2710111

      HR should have the answer

      by wwforliving ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      Because you have used so little sick time you should tell the HR people that this is an area of company policy you are unfamiliar with and would like to know what the company’s policy actually is. There should be something in writing that they can give you that would cover the ins and outs of this policy. This will help you out unless it was written in a bunch of legal language, then you may need an interpreter.

    • #2710109

      A Balance

      by pbatchelder ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      As a supervisor, when I have someone take off one time during the day for a Dr’s appointment, I don’t worry about sick time entries as they are usually uncommon occurances. As salaried employee’s they are being paid to do a job versus working x hours.

      However, if the need to see a Dr. is very frequent for an hour or two a day, then I would need to record the time as sick leave. When the employee is chronically gone to see the Dr, recording the sick time is for their job protection and mine. Otherwise, it would look like they are taking time off on company time and that would lead to another suite of problems.

      The recording of sick time is not a mark of degradation, punishment, a bad mark. It is the recording of time. Besides, you are truly leaving for health related issues, why wouldn’t it be sick time?

    • #2710101

      Check out the Dept. of Labor website

      by wwoman ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      There have been several good suggestions and observations made in these posts. I tend to agree with DC Guys’s comments. In any event, you should find out for yourself where you stand by checking the Dept of Labor website on leave benefits at
      It may point you in the right direction on how to proceed with your situation.
      I wish you the best, and hope your health is restored.

    • #2710098

      Sorry, I’m puzzled

      by tqm ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      I have read TomSal’s predicament several times and most of the answers and am still puzzled. You say that you have accrued 100+ hours of ‘sick time’ over many years of exemplorary work record, that is good. What are the 100 hours of sick time for? In my working life, the accrual of sick hours has always been like a savings bank account. Good work record deposits “X” number of hours per year, which becomes your accrual.(or savings) If you have to not be at work for medical (or related) reasons, that is a debit against your health savings.

      You suffer no penalty, no loss of pay, no recriminations, simply a deduction from your savings.(sick hours accumulated) When you ARE working, your salary is cost against whatever product or service your company provides. When you are recorded as sick (2 hours at Specialist) that cost becomes a cost against company overheads and shouldn’t therefore impact directly on the cost of the individual goods or service provided.

      It is still, obviously, an operating cost needing to be recovered, but can be charged against Admin instead of loading the actual product or service cost.

      Sick hours accrued are the allocation the company makes to you in case you are unwell. Their purpose is to be there for you to use, as you have been doing, when you need to seek medical help.

      I see no problem in your drawing from those savings or in your company recording the withdrawls

    • #2710083

      Sick Time

      by dsmith1 ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      Why do you think your employer offers you sick time?

      • #2710063

        How do you leave during the day?

        by michaelpo ·

        In reply to Sick Time

        I am on the management side and after reading most of these replies I wonder how do you leave for a few hours and come back to work without getting approval to be gone? If you need to leave for two hours during the day on a regular basis, I need to know that. If I have someone who works over 40 on a regular basis, I pass on recording occasional periods like this. If it is on a regular basis it needs to be accounted for. Should this go to disability it might be in your best interest to have it documented.

        • #2716303

          From Darkest Africa

          by it-africa ·

          In reply to How do you leave during the day?

          And here I thought that it is only Bureaucrats from Darkest Africa that are that anal.

          In South Africa, we have a strict Labour Relations Act and Basic Conditions of Employment Act. These are primarily designed to protect the employee.

          Anyway, I don’t believe one gets the best out of IT professionals by being that strict. Show me the IT person that works 40 hours a week. So if my staff need a few hours to see the doctor, or whatever else, they get it.

          In turn, I get much more out of it anyway. My manager does the same with me.

          P.S. I work for a private company that employees more than 30,000 people and have global offices.

    • #2710082

      Sick Time

      by dsmith1 ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      Why do you think your employer offers you sick time?

    • #2710079

      Get a grip

      by brutbwgcp ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      Sick time? What’s that? You’re complaining that you had a few hours of your 100 sick hours used because you missed some work? As a salaried employee what is sick time? You get to carry it over year after year? Do you also keep track of the extra hours you put in and complain about that? My perks I get on Friday in the form of $$$. Beyond that, complain to your boss or suck it up.

      Show up to work, do your work, get paid, check clears, play.

      Sorry if I seem harsh, but this is all too formal for me and most small companies. First I don’t see why they docked you the hours, but if that is what the sick/personal time is for and not just illnesses, then so what.

      Talk about anal, how about the suggestions of legal advice and checking government websites over a few sick hours. No wonder IT jobs are going overseas. Get a grip.

      Try this one, a couple of years ago, the week after the holiday bonus, we closed for a day because of a weekday xmas/extra long weekend and we were slow, and only the vp’s & up got paid. Plus we had just finished doing our semi-annual inventory in which many of us had already worked more than 40 hours for that week. He giveth and he taketh away, but he giveth plenty.

      • #2709544

        Here’s another story

        by it_in_ut ·

        In reply to Get a grip

        That reminds me, some years ago when I was a lowly jr. programmer pretty fresh out of college, I worked at this small software company. The company had a policy of being closed between Christmas and New Years. If you worked for the company less than 2 years you received 5 vacation days per calendar year that could not be carried over to the next year. If you wanted to get paid for the week the company was closed at the end of the year you had to save your 5 vacation days to use during that time. So everyone who worked there less than 2 years was forced to take their week vacation between Christmas and New Years. I heard they actually got in trouble with the State for that because the employees did not have an option as to whether they could work or not, not sure if that is true but the policy did suddenly change right after I heard that rumor. The next year all employees got paid their regular wages for the week the company was closed and didn’t have to use their vacation time for it.

    • #2710077

      Seems Okay to Me

      by sturner6 ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me


      While states may differ in their labor laws, your situation seems to be in line with my experiences in two states. It does not appear to be out of line. But, check with your company’s HR folks (calmly) to decipher their “off” time policies. Most seem to have programs for vacation, sick time (which includes doctor visits), and bereavement.

      I think the best thing you can do for yourself is have a sit-down with your manager and explain what is going on in detail. See if you can work out an arrangement whereby you can make up for the lost work time by working after hours so your total for the week is 40 (assuming this is the basis of your work week). If this is not acceptable, a more forceful approach with your manager may be in order.

      Also, put yourself in the company’s position for a moment and see how they would look at your situation across the board for all employees. Do you know of any who would abuse such a system?

    • #2710074

      Rules and Regs

      by gsg ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      I’m not sure of all of the Rules and Regulations. It differs from state to state. However, my employer only deducts the time if you don’t make it up. It’s on the honor system. Also, check your HR policies for the definition of “Full-Time”, then check your Job description. Many places full-time is defined as being 36 hours per week or more. If your job description defines you as “Full-Time”, then you are only obligated to work 36 hours. If it says 40 hours, then you are obligated for the full 40.

      However, if you normally work over 40 hours (like most IT people do), then they shouldn’t be using your sick time. Keep track of the hours you work, then every single pay period take it up with HR and payroll. Log your in and out times, as well as lunches, etc… Not to mention if you use your lunch time to go to the Dr. they shouldn’t deduct that time. Good Luck.

      • #2710065

        according to the defination of salaried…

        by drew17 ·

        In reply to Rules and Regs

        From what I’m gathering, a salaried employee is entitled to full pay without deductions for a missed hour here or hour there.

        I am under a similar situation with a new manager. Previously I had a great deal of flexability without checking in or out but the new manager seems to want to treat me like an hourly employee except I get no compensation for the days when I put in 10+ hours.

    • #2710048

      I’m A Manager

      by mark.lind ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      First of all, to summarize what you’re saying: you’re taking a lot of time off work for doctors appointments, and you think the company should be compensating you by paying you for this time you are not at work. I won’t speak to that perspective, but I can speak to the law, and our company policy as written and unwritten.

      I am an agent of the company and administrate our HR policy as I see fit for my employees. It sounds like you’re taking an adversarial approach which will get you nowhere. Having a boss who’s willing to go to bat for you (or ignore some of your time off) is going to get you a lot further than complaining to HR (who, I’m sure, has made sure all their company policies are legal–labor laws are fairly simple). You may also want to consider that “not paying you for time you’re not working” is perfectly legal.

      First off, in California, there is a classification of employee (assigned by the state) that is determined by >job function<, NOT by years worked at a company, importance to management, or whatever. These are "exempt" (what you call salaried) and "non-exempt". Exempt employees have more flexibility in their hours, but they also can be legally required to work 100 hour weeks. Non-exempt employees (hourly) have little flexibility in their hours, but also legally have access to benefits like overtime if they are required to work hours greater than a certain amount in a given period (more than an 8 hour shift, or more than 40 hours in a week, for example). That frames this whole issue as a variable, since you have not told me your job function. A company can not simply see that an employee is pulling down mega-overtime and reclassify them as exempt (salaried) to save themselves some dough. There is no choice in the matter in this state. With non-exempt classified employees (classification is determined by the state based on your job function), a managers discression on flexing time over several days is limited due to overtime laws. For example, allowing you to work 11 hours on a day following a day you worked 5 is a little sketchy if you're "non-exempt". This is the question I would ask HR: "is my job function classified as exempt or non-exempt?" You may be getting the same check each month (making you think you're "salaried"), but that doesn't really mean anything if HR isn't on the ball. Anyway... OUR official company policy for both exempt and non-exempt employees is that an employee gets 40 hours of Personal Time Off/Sick Time (PTO) each calendar year. If an employee does not take it in a calendar year, it goes AWAY (this is fairly normal and perfectly legal in california). That is, PTO/sick time does NOT accrue. Employees are allowed to use PTO in any way they see fit, and managers are expected to approve this time with little notice by the employee and little prejudice. This allows employees to have some time for handling personal business for situations like yours or for handling that expired reg on their vehicle they forgot about or whatever. Our vacation time is the time employees get for rest and it is at the discression of managers when AND if employees can take it or not (this is a small company, and depending on what's going on, an inconvienient vacation could affect business performance in a big way). To make up for this less discressionary benefit, vacation accrues forever. Since the only thing vacation requires is supervisor approval, if one of my employees knows about some appointments several days in advance I have often approved the use of vacation to cover as well (I had an employee who got braces last year, and it was a similar situtation--she ran out of PTO time). That said, the "unwritten policy" used at our company by most managers is that if an employee has some time they need to be away from work, it's perfectly acceptable to work with that employee and let them "flex" their schedule to compensate. Most managers here require the time to be less than a couple hours, and it must be made up within 2 days of the event, but I know of some managers who've let this go as far as a couple weeks for exempt employees. Personally, I've even allowed some employees to sort of "wash the time out" if there's some weekend work coming up in the next couple weeks. Since this requires cooperation from your manager, you really need to get their help with this type of set-up. That is, if your manager goes strictly by the rules, they do not have to pay you for time you have not worked. Make a friend who sympathizes with your situation, and you'd be surprised at how much you can get away with (especially considering if you're a superstar employee). Hang in there with the health thing. I went through a total of 6 weeks of chemotherapy over 6 months and I wasn't docked a single hour of any kind of time. Fit as a fiddle, these days.

      • #2709419

        It’s most likely not legal

        by femexec ·

        In reply to I’m A Manager

        The laws acrossed most of the states are relatively the same except for salary differentials which put guidelines around the exempt & non-exempt classes of employees. Do not assume that your company’s policy has been evaluated for legality as I have seen serious ignorance in this area until only recently. As a previous posting points out job function typically classifies whether you are exempt or non-exempt but there is also a salary boundary that defines that as well. Either you are not classified correctly in which case you should go back and get any overtime pay owed to you (employees that have become aware of this and are treated the way you are being treated are doing this much to their employers dismay) OR they simply cannot dock you the few hours of time off in the event you are getting your work completed. They cannot mandate the number of hours you work, only that you get your expected work completed regardless of whether it takes you 30 hours or 60 hours.

        Once you regain your health you should find another job. This employer doesn’t deserve your past lack of absentism and if they need to be reminded of it you can only assume this will happen again. Your manager isn’t quite out of touch enough since he/she can still remember your name well enough to dock your sick time.

    • #2710029

      Not sure about the U.S. …….

      by outrageous1 ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      I’m in Canada, and here, we do what’s both right for the employer as is what’s equally right for the employee. I empathize with your situation and fully understand where you are coming from. I see this as the “captain looking out for his teammates”. Whether it’s right or wrong where you are, it’s probably just best to let it go as it is and be done with it. Just answer yourself this one simple question … “Do I want to lose money from my weekly pay, or is it better to lose a day or two from my already over-grown sick days?”

    • #2709992

      You’re not alone

      by kmcmurdo ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      I too am suffering from being docked for doctor’s appointments. Being a dedicated, salaried employee, I work many, many hours beyond my contracted time almost every week due to workload, meetings outside office hours and special events. My hours are documented through a monthly time sheet. I have never received ANY compensation for overtime, neither lieu time nor remuneration. Admittedly, because I am Canadian, different rules likely apply to me than TomSal. Almost every other week (since I began with this org. 2 years ago) I need to visit a specialist (who is located more than 100kms –approx 70 miles/ 1 1/2 hour drive) from the town where I work/live. I am also familiar with the inability to book specialist appointments outside of regular office hours. I leave on those days for my lunch hour at 1:30 (ending at 2:30)and then am absent for the following two hours until the posted office closing hour of 4:30(though our admin manual indicates that the policy is for flexible hours with 9:00-4:00 being the core).
      In April the Exec.Director decided that I would be docked for 2 hours whenever I had those appointments stating that it was because my most recent doctor’s letter indicated that the length of treatment was undetermined.
      Last week was particularly disturbing, when I was asked to return from my doctor’s appointment quickly so that I could attend an evening meeting at 7pm. Even though I would be docked for my “missed” hours in the afternoon!
      Small organization, no HR department, not even another manager to consult — only the one boss. Very hard to go over the boss’ head to the Board of Directors. (Did I mention how few job opportunties there are in my rural area?)
      My investigation makes it look as though there is no law prohibiting this action by the employer, but it certainly is not fair.
      I would think that it is in an employer’s interest for their staff to maintain their health at the highest possible levels.
      Anyway, my commiserations go out to TomSal.

    • #2709984

      I agree on FMLA…

      by mrafrohead ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      Here are some info’s:

      To see if you qualify, see here:

      Regular information on FMLA:


      I’ll tell you this much, I have had to use FMLA before and it is a very helpful thing. Make sure that you qualify first, if you do, have your doctor fill out the forms. I think that they are three pages total. Then get them into your HR department or to your manager.

      Do it SOON. If you really are having problems, you need to get that covered because if it gets to a point where you can’t work, this will save your JOB if it really comes down to it.

      I can tell you the hardest part about FMLA and not working is, the fact that you are getting paid to do nothing. It’s a real mind job (at least it was for me). I started to feel kinda worthless and like a mooch. But the important part is this. Don’t let that get in the way of you getting better. If you do qualify for it, then you will need to get you better, or in the long run you may end up paying for it.


    • #2709958

      Post to All – Thanks

      by tomsal ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      Just wanted to say to all that post helpful posts, thanks ladies/gents. I appreciate your input.

      I wish I could reply to all individually but obviously that would just take far to long.

      Just as an aside — I did talk with HR and worked things out. My little medical problem is still unsolved after all kinds of testing (all test are normal) so I don’t know if I’ll be going to any more doctors — no one knows what to do it seems, so why waste the money on the office visits?

      Take care all.


      • #2709481

        Glad it worked out with HR Tom :)

        by admin ·

        In reply to Post to All – Thanks

        Thanks for letting us know!


    • #2709492

      Your Manager is Out of Line, or a Rookie

      by jcmanthey ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      I would really question your manager’s motives here. If you have been a solid performer in the past and continue to be,your manager should be giving you a little slack for what appears to be a legitimate health issue.

      A risk to you here is some companies have “occurrence” policies where each absence for illness counts as an “occurrence.” These policies usually incorporate a maximum number of occurrences beyond which an employee can be terminated. If your company has such a policy, ask your manager what his motives are by being so meticulous and “by the book.”

      A more professional way for your manager to handle this would be to give you a chance to make up the time, so it all evens out, especially if you are an exempt employee who is expected to work uncompensated overtime when required.

      Depending on where this conversation with your manager goes, it may be worth taking this to HR or your manager’s boss. However, don’t go in breathing fire. Explain the situation, ask for an explanation of the relevant company policies, and ask if your manager is handling the situation in the right way. He may be handling the situation the right way. On the other hand, HR or his boss may see this as an opportunity to provide him with some “guidance.”

      Good Luck

    • #2709486

      Talk to your boss

      by the_wildthing ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      Have you tried talking to your boss, explaining the situation, and offering to make it up (if you’re willing)? That way you don’t lose your sick leaves.

      I don’t know your HR policy, but it’s usually, “pay for work”, so either you don’t get paid if you don’t work or they deduct it from sick leaves – being a benefit.

      Just my two cents.

    • #2710465

      Reply To: Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      by mansurk ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      I am in Saudi Arabia, we have a guy had been sick for over two months and then had to proceed abroad for an operation somewhere in Jordan.Now that he is back,he is still getting his full salary and benefits and has not been fired.He isnt a High output employee but is still on payroll on the grounds of humanity and professionalism. If your company is deducting your salary then I think they are wrong. How many castles can they build by deducting your salary. Its a typical case of a narrow minded management

    • #2716696

      Keyword should be exempt or nonexempt

      by nneil ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      I thought this was a law but I may be wrong and that it is only a company policy but where I work you are either hourly, salaried non-exempt (you get paid overtime or anything over 40 hours you work in a week), or you are salaried exempt (do not get overtime). If you are salaried exempt and you show up for work that day you are paid for that day whether you go to the Dr. or go home later in the day. If you do not show up for work you either take it as sick pay or vacation. Sick leave is accrued at 8 hours per month. We seldom have anyone abusing sick leave.

    • #2707744

      Exception in the FLSA for public sector employers

      by kmmelcher ·

      In reply to Serious HR Question That is Bugging Me

      I have a very similar situation.

      This falls under the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which is different than the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FLSA covers hours and wages. The FMLA is about protecting your job.

      I worked for a private organization for 13 years. Their time off policy for salaried employees was that sick and vacation could only be taken in 8 hour increments. If you worked for one hour they paid you for 8 hours or if you worked for 12 hours they paid you for 8 hours. They managed salaried staff via work performance and goals.

      I am now working for a public sector agency. Their HR practices are to deduct sick and vacation time for hours used from salaried employees the same as they would for hourly employees. I called them HR practices because HR has not been able to produce a written policy. After working in the private sector, I found this strange so I did a little research and found there is an exception in the FLSA for public sector employers.

      If you check the Federal Dept of Labor web-site, wage and hour division you will find the details to help inform yourself when talking to your HR department. These are the links to the sites.
      Check these subsections on this page
      ?Sec. 541.602 Salary basis?
      ?Sec. 541.709 Employees of public agencies.?

      I am still working with my HR department on this so all I can do is point you at information.

      • #2707502

        I spent decades working in the public sector

        by dc_guy ·

        In reply to Exception in the FLSA for public sector employers

        What you describe is, to my knowledge, standard practice throughout the sector at the federal, state, and municipal level. The place I worked (municipal, a really really big one) had a published policy, but our understanding was that it was merely echoing the law on this matter.

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