Why You Need a Sick Time Policy for Salaried Employees

Let’s Talk Business Kingmaker Society Community Chat Why You Need a Sick Time Policy for Salaried Employees

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    Most companies offer sick leave to full time employees, since nearly 80% of full-timers get some sort of sick benefit. If your company doesn’t, there are a few reasons you might want to consider writing up a sick time policy for your salaried employees.

    First, it makes it easier to deal with the legalities of exempt employee salary deductions. Second, the office is just healthier when sick people don’t come into the office and infect everybody else. It may seem counter intuitive, but paying an employee to stay home when they’re sick benefits your employees and your company a great deal.

    Benefits of a Sick Time Policy

    • Employees don’t have to worry about losing pay when the inevitable happens. And happier employees do better work.
    • It improves employee retention.
    • It allows for salary deductions for exempt employees who abuse the privilege.
    • Sick employees can infect the workforce.
    • Sick employees can infect the public in certain types of jobs.

    Standard Sick Leave Benefits for Full Time Employees

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sick leave benefits are slightly more generous in larger companies and depending on length of an employee’s service. On average, full time employees get 7 sick days per year for the first year of service. In companies with over 100 employees, those employees get 8 days. The number of paid sick days rises slightly with seniority as well.

    Sick time by years of service and company size

    Benefits of Sending Sick Employees Home

    Making sick employees come to work does more harm than good. Even when huge projects need attention, sick people don’t perform well. Additionally, sick people make others sick and that brings productivity levels down even further.

    Having a sick time policy in place encourages people to stay home and rest so that they can get well faster and keep germs out of the office. Employees need to get paid. Without sick time, employees will usually just go to work anyway. Their work will be poor, they may make mistakes, and they will bring the bug to the office. In addition to offering sick time, you can make it a point to help employees lead healthier lives so that they get sick less often.

    Salaried Sick Time Abuse

    Some employees figure out how to abuse the lack of a sick time policy. When salaried employees take excessive sick time and your company doesn’t have a fixed policy, your arms are tied. There’s not much you can do but sit back and watch your employees call in sick whenever they want. Unless you have a policy. The reason for this is that salaried employees are protected in most cases from pay deductions.

    There are two situations in which problems may arise:

    No sick leave policy: While most full time salaried employees do have sick leave benefits, many of them don’t. That’s because it’s not mandated by Federal law and is only mandated by a handful of states and cities. Additionally, many employers think it’s too expensive to pay employees for time they’re not working.

    But the salaried employees who don’t have sick leave benefits can generally take sick time anyway. Since there are rules surrounding deductions to salaried employee’s pay what do you do with a salaried employee who gets sick and doesn’t have any benefit? In many cases, they end up getting the benefit by default. Employees that know this sometimes abuse it.

    Unlimited leave policy: Additionally, companies who offer unlimited sick time have no legal way of making deductions to the salary of an exempt employee who takes “too much” sick time. According to a recent survey by the Society for Human Resources Management, 3% of companies offer unlimited paid sick time. This could, potentially, be a problem for a big chunk of workers.

    Here’s why pay deductions can be so complicated for a salaried employee:

    The idea behind the salary

    The reason that you can’t generally deduct a salaried person’s pay is because exempt employees don’t make overtime – they are exempt from making overtime. The presumption is that they work more than 40 hours a week due to the type of work they do. So there can be a little give and take in their total weekly hours. Since they don’t get overtime for the weeks during which they work over 40 hours, you can’t dock them pay for the weeks during which they work fewer than 40 hours.

    Allowed deductions

    An employer can deduct from a salaried employee’s pay under certain circumstances.

    1. Salaried employees don’t need to be paid for full workweeks in which they perform no work.
    2. Partial day absences may only be deducted from an employee’s sick or vacation “bank”. Once that is exhausted, partial day absences cannot be deducted from an exempt employee’s salary.
    3. Full day absences for personal reasons may be deducted from an exempt employee’s salary if there is no vacation time in their time-off “bank”.
    4. If the employee misses a full day’s work due to illness, the employer can dock pay after the sick leave allotment has been exhausted. But this is only possible if there is a fixed sick leave policy in effect.

    Example of two impossible scenarios

    1. If an employee takes sick time and there is no policy in effect, then because of the nature of a salaried employee, the employer cannot deduct the day from the employee’s salary. Even if it happens frequently, the employee is protected.
    2. Similarly, if an employee has unlimited sick time, the employer cannot deduct it from the employee’s salary because there would be an inexhaustible number of sick days to allot to the absence. Even if the employee takes time off frequently, the employer could never deduct it from the employee’s pay.

    Soruce: http://www.timesheets.com/blog/2016/04/sick-time-policy/

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    Tina E Johnston
    I’m an exempt salary employee and and recently had to have surgery for a personal medical condition have to take 2 weeks off. Am I still entitled to my salary? We don’t have a set “sick-time” policy at my company. I have worked there for over 2 years however and still don’t really know where I stand.
    This all depends on your state’s sick time laws. Some states require employers to give their employees a certain amount of sick time hours per year. In New Jersey, for example, employers must provide 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours that the employee works. That means the employee can potentially get 40 hours of paid sick leave without facing penalties in a year. Salaried employees are paid the same every pay period no matter how much they worked, however, they’re expected to work a minimum time increment each week. If you didn’t work those hours, your employer can potentially legally take away your pay (as long as it’s not discriminatory or a surprise). Also, if your employer doesn’t have a sick time policy in place and your state doesn’t implement sick time rules, there’s a chance that you may not get paid for that period. I suggest that you speak with your supervisor or HR representative about creating a solid sick time policy– or just review their standards with you. Since sick time isn’t regulated by the federal government, sick time is an agreement between an employee and employer.
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