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In California, as I understand it, an exempt employee cannot have pay docked in partial amounts for partial-day absences.

What happens if the exempt employee is required to be on call and to respond to calls for work, and such a call occurs during a scheduled full-day away?

An hourly employee would be compensated for the amount of time spent directly working in response to an work-on-call-related responsibility. If an exempt employee is on vacation but is required to work in response to a call that comes in, does she not "spend" the sick/vacation day?

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    Check with your State Labor department first and then your local HR. – HLGEM Nov 18 '15 at 23:47
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    And your manager. Some may be willing to "cheat" you a bit of additional Management Directed Time Off, or at the very least let you treat this as flextime and recapture those hours at another timel that doesn't usually require HR's intervention, but dies require a manager who understands that interrupting scheculed vacation is rude even if necessary. – keshlam Nov 19 '15 at 1:06
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    I'd start with your manager. Don't go legal unless you need to, and often you'll get a reasonable low-level response from your manager. The gap between "you can do this but let's not tell people" and "this is an official policy that applies to even the most difficult employees" can be huge. – Móż Nov 19 '15 at 6:14
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There is no California or Federal regulation that prevents an exempt employee from using a partial day of earned leave. An exempt employee can not use unpaid time of (leave without pay or LWOP) for partial day absences. That is because the employer can not deduct pay from an exempt employee for a partial day worked. They can, however, draw from that employee's sick or vacation time for a partial day absence.

Depending on the company's policy, that employee may be able to avoid using leave if their total hours for the week are equal to 40.

Edited to Add/Clarify: In direct answer to your question, for a partial day of work or a partial absence the employee should charge their company/get paid for the hours they actually worked. If you were using leave without pay for your day, the company can not dock your pay if you reported for a partial day. However, if you have earned leave, the company can dock your leave for the amount you did not work.

There is a difference between the employer expecting the employee to be on call versus the employee wanting and being available to work. If you are available for work, but there is no work or you couldn't get in due to natural disaster etc, they can't dock your pay.

If you choose to take vacation, but are expected to be on call, than you are not choosing to be available for work (you are choosing vacation). If you worked for 1 hour out of an 8 hour day because you were on call:

-If you had no earned leave, they can't dock your pay for the 7 hours you did not work

-If you have leave, they still can't dock your pay but can remove up to 7 hours of your leave for the hours you did not work

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    I don't think the OP means that. They mean "A company can't dock an exempt employee part of a day's wages because they worked a short day". – DJClayworth Nov 19 '15 at 15:06
  • Specifically it goes with the 'no overtime' clause - the company can't dock you an hours pay for the day you only worked seven hours and then refuse to pay you extra the next day when you worked nine. – DJClayworth Nov 19 '15 at 21:42
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If you are on call, then you are not on vacation.

If you book a day's absence, then the company cannot require you to be on call and cannot force you to come in. If they say that "you must be on call" then they are not giving you absence.

Looked at logically, what are they going to do if you are spending your vacation trekking in the Andes? Make you log in on a dial-up modem from the trekking hut?

However if the company says "I will only grant you this time off if you are on call" then it's entirely reasonable to ask what will happen - and how much you will be paid - if you are called in. If you don't like the terms then don't agree to it. Tell then that you are doing something that will not let ou respond to calls. At some point they will have to grant you the time off you are owed without strings attached.

If you are so important that the company literally cannot survive if you are not available at all times, presumably they are paying you enough that this is not an issue.

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  • Of course if you are going to be trekking in the Andes, it's partially your responsibility to make sure whoever is covering for you has all the info theg might nedd, or as close to that as reasonably possible. – keshlam Nov 19 '15 at 16:33
  • Making sure your cover knows what to do is a long way from the company being able to call you in at any time they like. – DJClayworth Nov 19 '15 at 21:39

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