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Davis Brown Employment and Labor Law Blog

HR Quick Take: Short on PTO - July 29, 2020

Q: I have an exempt employee who was absent from work for three days but only had enough PTO in her bank to cover two and a half days, can I deduct the remaining half day from her wages?

A: Yes, pursuant to a wage hour letter reissued on January 5, 2018 (FLSA 2018-14), “If an employee is absent for one or more full days but does not have enough time in his or her leave bank to cover the entire absence, the employer may make a deduction from the employee’s pay for any portion of the full day absences that is not accounted for by the leave bank.”

Remember, however, that the regulations do not permit salary deductions for partial-day absences, so if the employee had only been absent a half-day or if you’ve allowed the employee to work some period of time during that three-day absence, even 20 minutes here and 20 minutes there, the rule will not apply.


HR Quick Takes features client questions and answers from Iowa employment attorneys. If you have a question you’d like answered, email


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