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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 18809
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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If you have acquired PTO from the previous year of 168 hours

Customer Question

If you have acquired PTO from the previous year of 168 hours and you give notice to leave your job in May, can the company pro rate your hours and keep the balance of the 168 if nothing is in the company handbook stating this?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 9 months ago.

Thank you for trusting your question to JA today. I am a licensed attorney with over a decade of law practice and over 20 years of experience in the legal field. I’m happy to be of assistance.

Minnesota law is silent on this issue, not making PTO guaranteed as a pay out at termination. Instead, they leave the matter to employer policy. Now, unlike some states that have payment as a default, your state does not. The employer here then could argue the reasonableness of only paying out accrued PTO, alleging that accrual only occurs as you work through the year. You can, of course, argue the other side....that without their policy stating as much, there is no reason to assume that.

The point though is that this will not be an issue handled by your state DOL. You'd have to personally sue in state court to try and allege a breach of state law through failure to pay accrued vacation. The employer will be at a disadvantage without a clearly written policy, but they do have reasonable actual arguments depending on the wording of the leave policy on what "accrual" means. Additionally, their argument will have a "common sense" aspect that courts can consider.

It's really impossible to predict the outcome. If the employer had this written into a policy it clearly would be permitted, but not having it written into a policy doesn't make it automatically illegal by your state's laws.

If you have any further questions, please let me know. I invite follow up questions, so use REPLY for those. If you have no further questions then good luck going forward and please do not forget to rate my service with a top-three rating so that I receive credit for working with you today. Also, feel free to request me in the future, if you have questions concerning a different matter.

Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 9 months ago.

Hello, I wanted to check in and make sure that there was not any additional information that you required. If you need further assistance, please use REPLY and ask me for any additional information you may need. If not, take care and have a great day.

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