Last Updated: 3.31.2020 @ 12:35 pm
DISCLAIMER: The following information is a guide, not intended to be used as legal advice, and no attorney client relationship is established by any communication through this website. Because every situation and every workplace is different we ask that you contact us with specific questions.
For hourly, non-exempt employees, employees must be paid for any time in which they have worked. Employers are not required to compensate hourly employees who are absent from work. During a pandemic, hourly employees may be sent home without performing any work and not be paid for the time they would otherwise have worked. However, employees must be paid if they do any work, regardless of whether they are at work. Employees who work from home, must be paid for the hours worked.
It is a bit more complex for employees who are exempt under the FLSA. Under the FLSA, when an exempt employee performs any work during a week, that employee generally needs to be paid the full week’s salary. If, however, an exempt employee misses work during a pandemic, you may deduct from the employee’s base salary for:
• Full-day absences for sickness or disability, pursuant to the employer’s sick leave policy, plan, or practice of providing compensation for salary loss caused by illness or disability.
- Full-day absences for personal reasons other than sickness or disability.
- Full-day or partial-day absences taken as unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
but, the employer may not deduct from the employee’s salary for:
- Absences due to sickness or disability when the employer does not have a sick leave policy (However, if the employee misses the entire workweek, the employer does not need to pay the employee for the week missed from work.)
- Absences occasioned by the employer or by the operating requirement of the business. For example when the employer closes the workplace because of the pandemic.
Although the FLSA does not require employer-provided vacation time, where an employer offers vacation time to its employees, there is no prohibition on an employer requiring that such accrued leave or vacation time be taken and require employees to stay home and make up lost work time. If an employee does not have enough accrued time to cover the absence, the employer must still pay the employee the full guaranteed compensation amount in order for them to remain exempt. Employers may not deduct from the predetermined compensation amount for absences occasioned by the office closure during a week in which the employee performs any work.