Vision Payroll

March 1, 2010

US Department of Labor Issues and Withdraws Opinion Letter on Salary Deductions from Exempt Registered Nurse

The US Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued Administrator signed Opinion Letter FLSA2009-25. Although Opinion Letters only apply to the exact set of facts and circumstances presented in each case, they are a valuable aid in understanding current interpretations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Because the letter was apparently never mailed after it was signed, the DOL under new Secretary Hilda L. Solis has decided to withdraw the letter for further consideration. Therefore, this letter may not be relied upon as a statement of agency policy. It is possible that a different conclusion may be reached when the Opinion Letter is reissued.

In this Opinion Letter, the DOL had ruled that employers could take deductions from an exempt salaried employee based upon the number of work hours missed when an employee misses an entire day of work. The employee in question was a Registered Nurse (RN) who was paid a salary to be on call and available for surgery. She was paid whether or not she was actually called in to the hospital. At some times, the RN was not available to be called for a full day. As long as the employee was absent for at least one full day, a deduction from her salary was permissible.

State laws may provide rules that are more beneficial to the employee and must be followed. The DOL may come to a different conclusion when it reissues the Opinion Letter after further consideration. Contact Vision Payroll if you have questions about this Opinion Letter.

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