The Mailbag.

Author:Delogu, Nancy
Position:Letter to the editor
 
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Hourly employee wants to reduce her own schedule; do we have to allow it?

Q We have an hourly, full-time employee who wants to reduce her weekly work hours for personal reasons. Do we have to accommodate her?--Anonymous

A Probably not, depending on what is meant by "personal reasons." For example, if her reasons are related to a disability, granting her request for a reduced schedule might be required as a reasonable accommodation. If she needs time away to care for a sick family member, she might be entitled to a reduced schedule under the FMLA. (And some states provide similar benefits.)

If she truly wishes to modify her schedule for personal reasons, you are under no obligation to grant her request. But in an era of low unemployment, you may wish to do so--at least on a trial basis--to retain a good employee.

Employee is angry about error on her W-4: Could this cause us legal or tax troubles?

Q An employee is upset because her W-4 had been filled out incorrectly, claiming three dependents when she actually has none. The employee said one of our HR reps (who no longer works for us) filled out this information. It does look like her handwriting. The employee resigned because she is so upset. I'm worried about where we stand legally. --Anonymous

A This is troubling. IRS Form W-4 is supposed to be completed by the employee, not the employer. As a result, I'm sure she is concerned about coming up with the additional taxes due in April. There is also a chance the IRS would send you (or her next employer) a "lock-in" letter requiring additional deductions in coming years.

That said, the employee must have reviewed and signed the document, right? I doubt there will be much legal consequence to your company, assuming she had the opportunity to review and correct the form and instead simply signed it. If you suspect actual fraud by your former HR rep, you may want to consult with your local U.S. Attorneys' office.

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