I work in a small organization - no HR person to help wade through this problem.

In short, I have a couple of exempt employees who've experienced significant health problems in the past 6 months. They've exhausted their available paid time off, and I'm not sure where to go from here.

I've done a bit of research into what it means to be exempt, and from what I've been able to figure, the organization is very limited in its ability to dock exempt employees. The best I've been able to find is that I can dock an employee for one or more days (not less than one day) if it's in conjunction with what the policy calls a "bona fide plan." I assume that means a policy, and we have one outlined in our personnel policies.

All of that said, I'm not really sure it's a good practice to be in to dock employees who are legitimately sick. I know that if I were sick, knowing that I wasn't getting paid would do nothing to help me "feel better." Still, I'm concerned that this particular area is stagnating because of this illness - I've considered hiring temporary help to get caught up, and those resources won't appear from thin air. Also concerned about the fairness issue.

Any advice or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks!