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Is Part-Time Salaried Worker Owed Benefits?

July 15, 2001

Q: My husband is a salaried marketing director who recently asked to work four 10-hour days, or that his time be reduced to 80%. His employer granted the second request: Four days of work a week, with 80% pay.

But now he has been told that he is part-time and will get no sick days and no paid holidays. Is this legal?

--E.F., Los Angeles

A: It is legal for your husband's employer to cut his pay, unless there is an employment contract for a specific term that contains a specified salary.

The sick days and holidays are a bit more complicated.

You say your husband is salaried, but you do not say whether he is considered exempt from overtime.

If he is not paid overtime, he cannot be docked for missing work due to illness or holidays in any week in which he performs work.

In other words, he is entitled to be paid his normal weekly salary even though he may not work a day or two during the week on account of illness or holidays, regardless of whether he is considered full-time or part-time.

If he is salaried but also paid overtime, his entitlement to paid holidays and sick days can be lost if he otherwise fails to meet the definition of a full-time employee under the employer's policies.

--James J. McDonald Jr.

Attorney, Fisher & Phillips LLP

Labor law instructor, UC Irvine

Must Bonus Be Paid After Employee Resigns?

Q: In the first week of January I resigned from a company where I was employed for the last 16 months. Part of the salary incentive when accepting this job was a bonus based on the company's performance for the calendar year.

During my exit interview, I was informed that because I would no longer be employed when the bonus is paid out, I would not be entitled to this money.

There is no reference to this policy in my offer letter or anywhere in the company's rule book. Is this legal?

--S.C., Los Angeles

A: Though it is not unusual for companies to make bonuses conditional upon employment, most companies state the policy clearly.

Without more facts, however, it's difficult to determine whether you have a legitimate claim.

If the bonus is discretionary rather than a specific percentage tied to the company's performance, the company could argue that it has the right to decide whether or not to pay it. You should also consider how the company has treated others in your situation.

--Don D. Sessions

Employee rights attorney

Mission Viejo

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If you have a question about an on-the-job situation, please mail it to Shop Talk, Los Angeles Times, P.O. Box 2008, Costa Mesa, CA 92626; dictate it to (714) 966-7873, or e-mail it to shoptalk@latimes.com. Include your initials and hometown. The Shop Talk column is designed to answer questions of general interest. It should not be construed as legal advice. Recent Shop Talk columns are available at http://www.latimes.com/shoptalk.

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