Dilemma of the Month: Holding Exempt Employee Accountable

Last year, we hired someone to run our small business, and we paid him very well. However, he was always coming in late, taking Fridays off, calling in sick, having car trouble and dentist appointments, etc. He was an exempt employee, so we kept paying him as if he was there all the time. He quit and we don’t want to have the same problems with the new hire. Of course, we don’t mind if this person has a doctor’s appointment from time to time, but don’t want the constant absences we had with the last manager. What can we do to make our exempt employee accountable for his or her hours?

To read the answer, click here: Dilemma of the Month: Holding Exempt Employee Accountable

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8 thoughts on “Dilemma of the Month: Holding Exempt Employee Accountable

  1. Maybe also hav a policy/rule where they have to tell you ahead of time when they have an appt. Then maybe instead of tracking the amount of time spent in the office. It might be worth a look to to what they are actually accomplishing. Maybe the person is working while not in the office.

  2. The key to so many employment-related problems is being proactive. Really good point about setting expectations early and sticking to them. Once the genie is out of the bottle with an employee who games the system, it can be impossible to right the ship. Better to chart a good course from the start, be it with a policy manual, office memos, or regular meetings. It’ll save everybody headaches in the long run, and could even limit the company’s liability (from wrongful termination claims) down the road. Thanks for sharing!

  3. We still make our exempt employees use their PTO when they take off and once they are out they are out. It makes them a little more cautious on using it.

    1. That’s fine as long as you pay them OT for working more than 40 hours a week and spending weekends at trade shows or traveling from the US to Germany for a Monday morning meeting.

  4. Don’t need to pay them OT, just need to pay them their exempt salary,. Doesn’t matter if it’s with PTO, Sick, or Vacation, or butt in the seat pay.
    The common issue in this type of circumstance is he likely hadn’t accrued much PTO etc to debit.

    1. Sure, but only if the flexibility goes both ways. If you expect me to spend the Friday after Thanksgiving on a plane to Dubai (and to be at work Sunday morning after my 10 p.m.. Saturday arrival), then you don’t get to charge my PTO if I take an afternoon off to go to the dentist.

      1. Legally, the company can. Of course you can choose to negotiate the point or even leave, but you have no legal protection.

        Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it good management or best practice.

  5. Honestly I find that odd. I’m exempt, usually am, but if I have a doctor’s appointment or car trouble, I generally stay the eight hours or pull a long day the next day. My employer generally wins out at the end of the week, I always give them over forty.

    I agree it needs to go both ways. Leaving a position because I am routinely given way more work than anyone could ever accomplish within my paid hours. It’s enough work for two people, and they won’t negotiate, so I’ll find a more reasonable employer. I don’t mind doing an extra hour a day, but after that, my time is worth something.

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