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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I worked at a company for 13 years, had a breakdown and went

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I worked at a company for 13 years, had a breakdown and went out on medical leave, after 4 months I quit. I returned to the same company after being gone for 11 months. I was offered full time employment but started at 26 hours per week. After a few months I requested to increase my hours and was told I had to keep under 30 hours a week. Now that I am approaching my 2 year anniversary they are now asking if I would like to increase my hours. I am thinking it is because after 2 years they don't have to recognize my prior years of service for PTO time and vacation. Am I on the right track? And if yes is this legal.
Good evening and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I will do everything I can to assist you.

"I am thinking it is because after 2 years they don't have to recognize my prior years of service for PTO time and vacation."

What do you mean by "recognize? Are you worried they are going to try and make you forfeit PTO and vacation? If you can provide some clarification as to what you mean here that would be excellent.

I very much look forward to helping you on this matter.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

After 13 years of full time employment I had earned PTO hours based on my years of service. I want to know if it is legal to require I start over as if I had not worked 13 years, but treat it as if I was a new hire. Working less that 30 hours a week I do not earn any vacation time.


Thank you very much for your reply. When you say "start over" are you referring to your employer forcing you to forfeit your presently accrued PTO and vacation days and start over from zero? Or are you talking about your employer changing the RATE at which future PTO and vacation is accrued?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Employer changing rate at which future PTO and vacation is accrued.

Thank you so much for clarifying that and sorry for my misunderstanding.

While I can certainly appreciate form your perspective why you would regard such a "resetting" of your PTO/vacation accrual rate as unfair, there is unfortunately no legal basis to contest it.

No law requires employers to provide PTO or vacation days. They are considered a job "perk," and as such, employers retain a tremendous degree of discretion with regard to the rates at which such days may be accrued and when they can be taken.

The only significant restriction with regard to PTO and vacation is that an employer cannot force an employee to forfeit already-accrued hours. That is why I was very careful to understand what you were asking. Had it been what I thought initially--that your employer was attempting to take accrued vacation away from you--that would have been a very different sort of situation.

Unfortunately, though, provided your employer gives you advance notice of any change in the rate of accrual, they can change that rate to whatever they desire--or even take away the right to earn PTO and vacation entirely--and there is no law to prevent that from happening.

I realize that the law is not entirely in your favor here and I am truly sorry to have to deliver bad news. Nonetheless, I trust that you will appreciate an accurate explanation of the law and realize that it would be unprofessional of me and unfair to you to provide you with anything less.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.
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