Aug. 12, 1999
Vol. 18 No. 20

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    Partial-day absences policy changes

    University staff members in monthly paid (“exempt”) positions are now to report only full-day absences on their Monthly Absence Reports. Effective since July 1, partial-day absences are no longer charged to time-off accruals, nor is pay deducted for them.

    Exempt staff began reporting their absences at the end of July on a revised Monthly Absence Report.

    According to Chris Keeley, Associate Vice President for Human Resources Management, the University’s current procedures and associated forms are being modified to respond to recent court interpretations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The FLSA is a complex federal law that covers a number of topics, including minimum wage, child labor, overtime requirements, time-keeping requirements, and who is covered (“non-exempt”) and not covered (“exempt”) by the Act. For well over half a century, the FLSA has been amended, interpreted and re-interpreted.

    Keeley also noted that the change in absence reporting is consistent with evolving trends in human resources.

    She said the absence-reporting change reinforces the idea that FLSA exempt staff members are paid on a salaried basis, which translates as compensation for performing the total job rather than the number of hours worked. Because pay is for the total job, monthly paid staff employees do not earn overtime pay or compensatory time off for work performed beyond regular schedules. In turn, said Keeley, exempt staff are not required to deduct time for absences of less than a full day.

    Although these partial-day absences are not deducted from accruals or from pay, approval for such partial-day absences remains the same. Supervisors continue to have the responsibility to set work schedules and to allow partial-day absences or to deny them and/or to require that the absences be for the full workday. The key is that when partial-day absences occur, the time is not deducted from accruals or from pay.

    There is one exception to reporting partial-day absences, and that is when an exempt employee’s absence is related to the Family and Medical Leave Act. Employees may take intermittent leave or a reduced work schedule for situations meeting the eligibility provisions of the FMLA. In these situations, the accruals and the FMLA entitlement may be used in increments of as little as one hour.