salary cut

Recently I was asked what to do if an employee is upset and implicitly threatens to leave due to an unavoidable pay cut? Can they be told to work fewer hours?

Actually the answer is No. You may explain, however, that they may be able to complete their job in fewer days or hours per week than they previously were able and that they may find that they are able to take additional time off work. Since an exempt employee is not paid by the hour or by the day, it would be inappropriate (and a violation of federal and applicable state law) to tie their hours worked to pay.