The Georgia Department of Labor incorporates the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) into its state laws concerning minimum wage, overtime compensation and payment of wages. That being said, when differences between the federal and state laws occur, Georgia defers to the federal government. The U.S. Department of Labor enforces the FLSA regulations.
Employees paid on a salary basis receive a fixed pay rate for a specific number of hours agreed upon by the employer and employee. Typically employers state an annual salary amount for full-time employees, as in, "The senior manager position is full-time and the annual salary is $62,000." Salaried employees don't receive overtime compensation. Instead, they receive a salary for completing their job duties, regardless of the number of hours it takes to fulfill their responsibilities. Additionally, employers who make improper deductions from the wages of salaried employees may be subject to fines and penalties assessed by the federal government.
Vacation and Sick Leave Benefits
Neither federal laws nor Georgia state wage and hour laws require that employers provide vacation or sick leave benefits to employees. Nevertheless, many employers do because it's easier to recruit applicants and retain current employees. In fact, there are no laws -- federal or Georgia state -- that mandate benefits of any kind. If a salaried employee has vacation or sick leave benefits from which to deduct time for more than one full day's absence, that may be counted against the employee's accrued time and paid to the employee for certain absences instead of docking pay for one full day or more.
Generally speaking, paychecks for salaried employees in Georgia can't be docked for the occasional absence or when an employee takes off the afternoon. If a salaried employee is sick, for instance, and takes off the last half of the afternoon due to illness or for personal reasons, her employer can't dock her pay for that absence. On the other hand, Georgia's salaried employees who are out of the office for more than one full day plus one-half day may only be docked for the full day's absence. Salaried employees cannot have their pay docked for partial day absences. Even if the salaried employee happens to work for an employer that doesn't offer vacation or sick leave, the employee can be docked for absences more than one full day's absence. The exception for docking pay for a partial day applies when the salaried employee takes intermittent leave pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act. Intermittent leave under the FMLA permits employees to take smaller increments of time off for a serious health condition.
The Georgia Department of Labor strongly recommends that employers publish an employee handbook that contains guidelines and workplace policies. Workplace policies generally apply to all employees, whether salaried or hourly workers. Employee handbooks commonly contain workplace policies related to disciplinary procedures. If a salaried employee violates a workplace policy and is subsequently disciplined for the violation, his pay can be docked for a disciplinary suspension of more than one full day. If the disciplinary suspension is less than a full day, however, the employer is prohibited from docking his paycheck for the hours the employee is sent home from work. For this type of deduction from a salaried employee's pay to be deemed proper, the employee must be aware of the employer's policy.
Partial Week Deductions
According to federal laws, and thus Georgia laws, a salaried employee's pay also may be deducted when the employee's start date or final date of employment causes a partial workweek or partial workday. For example, if a salaried employee starts his new job on Tuesday afternoon for a 40-hour week, the employee will be paid for 3 1/2 days of work. Likewise, if an employee's last day of work occurs Tuesday after completing a half-day's work, the employee's final paycheck for that week would compensate the employee for 1 1/2 days of work.