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Docking

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Updated: 4/11/2007 11:26 am
'Docking' refers to the practice of reducing an employee's pay for disciplinary reasons such as chronic absenteeism, tardiness, negligence, or theft. This practice is legal under the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA (F-L-S-A), as long as the employee who's pay is being docked is covered under the act and the deduction made doesn't reduce the employee's earnings below the federal minimum wage or cut into his or her overtime compensation. FLSA regulations restrict employers from docking an employee's pay if the time not worked is due to jury duty or military leave. Employers should note that employees who earn salaries are exempt from FLSA protection and, thus, can't have their pay docked for any reason other than when a major workplace safety rule has been violated or when the employee is absent for an entire work week. Docking an exempt employee's pay for absences of less than one day or for variations in the quality or quantity of the employee's work is considered illegal. Employers may require exempt employees to make up the missed time instead. Some state laws contain more severe restrictions on docking employees' wages than federal regulations. For example, employers in Wisconsin are required to obtain an employee's consent before pay can be deducted. In cases where state laws impose additional restrictions on docking pay, companies are required to adhere to them before federal regulations.
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