Search form

California Labor Commissioner Reinstates Position When Employees Peform No Work In A Week

By Jamerson C. Allen
  • June 25, 2002

After some confusion, the Labor Commissioner now states the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement will continue to examine salary deductions for missed work on a work week basis. Consequently, if the DLSE makes a determination that no work has been performed in a week, an employer may avoid payment of salary to an exempt employee.

The Labor Commissioner's opinion, while reflecting the DLSE's current enforcement position, is not binding upon the California courts. While we believe the opinion is well reasoned and persuasive, employers should be aware California courts could reach a different conclusion.

Employers should review their vacation leave policies and practices in light of the Labor Commissioner's March 2 opinion letter. The letter clarifies that where an exempt employee is absent for personal reasons, deductions from the employee's salary should only be made if the absence is for a day or more. Vacation pay, including deductions from vacation leave banks, should not be paid in lieu of salary for absences of less than a day. In contrast, partial day deductions from sick leave banks (but not from pay) are allowed where the employer has a bona fide plan providing compensation for illness or injury.

Finally, the DLSE's current enforcement position suggests that paid time off policies which combine traditional vacation and sick leave are inconsistent with exempt status when applied to absences due to illness or injury. Employers should reconsider applying PTO policies to exempt California employees since, in the DLSE's view, doing so is inconsistent with exempt status.

©2002 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Reproduction of this material in whole or in part is prohibited without the express prior written consent of Jackson Lewis P.C., a law firm that built its reputation on providing workplace law representation to management. Founded in 1958, the firm has grown to more than 900 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries including government relations, healthcare and sports law. More information about Jackson Lewis can be found at www.jacksonlewis.com.

See AllRelated Articles You May Like

August 23, 2019

Colorado Labor Agency Proposes Revisions to Wage Rules that Include Bar on Vacation Pay Forfeiture

August 23, 2019

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has proposed amendments to its Wage Protection Act Rules (Proposed WPA Rules) that include a prohibition against forfeiture of vacation pay under the Colorado Wage Claim Act (CWCA). CDLE adopted the Proposed WPA Rules as temporary rules effective as of August 20, 2019, and... Read More

August 21, 2019

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Agency Proposes Changes to Hours of Service Rules for Truck Drivers

August 21, 2019

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on changes to the hours of service (HOS) rules. Background First adopted in 1937, FMCSA’s HOS rules set the permitted operating hours of commercial drivers. FMCSA mandated use of... Read More

August 7, 2019

New Jersey Wage Theft Law Increases Employer Liability for Wage and Hour Violations

August 7, 2019

New Jersey’s Wage Theft Act (WTA) significantly enhances employer penalties under the state’s wage and hour laws by adding liquidated damages and providing extra protections for employee retaliation claims. In addition, the WTA makes client-employers and labor contractors jointly and severally liable “for any violations of the provisions... Read More

Related Practices