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Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 31563
Experience:  JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
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Can employer take away PTO? Also, they are saying they are

Customer Question

Can employer take away PTO? Also, they are saying they are going to take away already sick time and pay it out at $3.00 per hour.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Tina replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX my goal is to provide you with excellent service today. I am sorry to hear of your difficult situation. Before I can give you an accurate answer to your question, please provide the following additional information:

Can the PTO time typically be used for vacations or other personal time, not just sick days?

I look forward to assisting you as soon as I have received this information. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


We started with just PTO, then they moved some of the PTO into a sick bank. Then added all kinds of rules to use the sick bank. (basically we are not able to use unless it's FMLA. Now they are saying they are going to eliminate the sick bank and pay it out at 3.00 per hour we have in the bank. They also are taking away my PTO that I have already earned and not pay it out.

Expert:  Tina replied 1 year ago.

I see. Thank you for clarifying that, Wendy.

While sick time can be forfeited by an employer under CA law typically, PTO time cannot be. PTO time is normally treated as part of an employee's compensation package and cannot simply be forfeited. An employee has an absolute right to take these days off or be paid the value of the days upon termination.

The employer's policy does appear to violate state law and could be reported to the state labor board for investigation if the employer does attempt to forfeit employees' PTO time.

Here is a link to the state's website summarizing the law on this issue (see #8):

http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_vacation.htm

Here is a link to file a complaint with the labor board:

http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/howtofilewageclaim.htm

I hope this helps clarify the situation for you. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need so I will be compensated for my time from the deposit you posted with this website. If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Thank you!

Tina

 

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


So can they pay it at less than min. wage

Expert:  Tina replied 1 year ago.
Hello again, Wendy.

Since the sick time is subject to forfeiture, an employer could typically pay less than minimum wage for the accrued time. They cannot do so for vacation or PTO days though as that time should be paid at the employee's regular rate of pay.

I hope this helps clarify the situation for you. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need so I will be compensated for my time from the deposit you posted with this website. If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Thank you!

Tina

Expert:  Tina replied 1 year ago.

Hello again, Wendy.


I'm truly disheartened to see that you rated my assistance to you negatively instead of using the reply button to let me know what additional information you may be seeking from me. I strive to provide every customer with excellent service. How may I better answer your question for you? I invite you to ask any additional question that you may need to, for clarification of your issue.

Expert:  Tina replied 12 months ago.
Hello again, Wendy.

Another attorney on this site brought to my attention that while your question originally came through as a California Employment Law question, you may be in a state other than California. If so, please let me know and I would be happy to provide you information on that state's laws.
Customer: replied 12 months ago.


Yes, it's Oklahoma

Expert:  Tina replied 12 months ago.
I see. Thank you for clarifying that, Wendy. My sincere apologies for the mix-up as the question did come through the wrong category.

In Oklahoma, employers are not required to provide employees with vacation benefits (or PTO or sick time), either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide such benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. Okla. Stat. § 165.1(4).

Here is a link which summarizes the law in OK on this issue:

http://www.employmentlawhandbook.com/leave-laws/vacation-leave-laws/vacation-leave-law-summaries/

Therefore, if the employer's policy indicated that employees would be paid for their sick or PTO time using their regular rate of pay and did not provide for forfeiture or payment at a lower rate, the employer would typically be violating the law if they forfeit the accrued days or pay at a lower rate.

If that is the case, then it would be best for the affected employees to retain a local employment law attorney to pursue their rights against the employer.

I hope this helps clarify the situation for you. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need so I will be compensated for my time from the deposit you posted with this website. If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Thank you!

Tina

Customer: replied 12 months ago.


Can they change the policy without notice? The policy was first sick bank and PTO. Then they moved everything over to PTO. Then changed again they put most PTO into sink bank and said unless we qualified for FMLA we couldn't use the sick time. Now they are saying they are not allowing us to use PTO when taking off and are paying out sick time we've accured at the rate of $3.00.

Expert:  Tina replied 12 months ago.

Hello again, Wendy.

Since they are not required to provide the benefit of vacation/PTO/sick time in the first place, they can typically change the policy prospectively but not retroactively, so any days which were already accrued should normally be paid pursuant to their old policy. This would prevent the employer from forfeiting days or paying at a lower rate unless that was permitted under the old policy.

Tina, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 31563
Experience: JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
Tina and 10 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Tina replied 12 months ago.

Thank you very much for your positive rating of my service. It has been my pleasure to assist you and I hope you will ask for me should a future legal need arise.

If you receive a Customer Satisfaction Survey from JustAnswer, please consider scoring me a 9 or 10. It benefits my ability to assist you and other customers, and would be tremendously appreciated.

Thanks again and all the best to you.

Tina

Note: Please feel free to request me if you have future legal questions by typing your new question in the question box on my profile page. Here is a link to that page, which you can bookmark or add to your favorites: http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-tina/. I look forward to hearing from you again should the need arise.

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