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I'm in CT and have a question about Vacation and Personal

Hello. I'm in CT and...
Hello. I'm in CT and have a question about Vacation and Personal days my employer gave us personal days three years ago, paid time that can be used on short notice with no penalty. They were not called Sick Days, because they could be used for any purpose that didn't allow for enough notice to take a Vacation day
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: My employer posted a notice on Friday 9-15 that it was paying out the personal days in the paycheck of the week ending 12-22, and we cannot use personal days after 12-15 CT
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: at will, full time
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no Thank you
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
9/18/2017
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 17,487
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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Thank you for using JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Do you have a specific question in regards ***** ***** situation?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I didn't finish yet, thank you
My employer gave us notice that the Personal Days would be paid out on 12-22 (we have been paid for unused days in January in the past two years, as an incentive to use them only if needed), and we cannot use them after 12-15. This policy is to apply to future years as well, per the notice which was signed only by the HR person who wrote it.
Also in the notice is that we may be denied vacation during the week of Christmas, at the Company's discretion. My main question is, can the company buy back our Personal days without our consent, prior to the end of the year in which they may be used?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I prefer writing here, rather than a call, thank you.

Thank you for that additional information. Please give me a few minutes while I type a response. I am still here with you, but it does take a bit of time to type a complete response.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
OK, thank you.

One other thing: does your employer provide for sick pay as well? Are you covered by the Connecticut Paid Sick Leave Law (https://www.cbia.com/resources/hr-safety/issues-laws/paid-sick-leave/)?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
The Personal Days were in lieu of Sick Leave. We are a manufacturer with about 120 hourly and another 100 salaried people
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
CT Sick Leave law doesn't apply to this Company

Thank you. I wanted to check to make sure. Please give me a moment...

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In this instance, it would be legal. Unethical, immoral, illogical maybe, but legal. You see, Connecticut is an "at will" employment state. At-will employment means that without a contract, you have no contractual or other right to employment with the company. The company is entitled to fire you for any reason: a good reason, a poor reason, or no reason at all--as long as the company does not fire you for an illegal reason (race, gender, age, religion, etc...). But it extends beyond firing, to hiring, promotions, demotions, wage cuts and raises, disciplinary actions, and even scheduling. Unless you can show that this was done in violation of a contract, union agreement, or a clear violation of an unambiguous and binding clause against the employer, or that it was done because of some minority status (age, race, gender, religion, disability) that you have, then they do have this discretion.

An employer doesn't have any obligation to provide time off, and only an obligation to provide sick time in accordance with that law referenced above. Otherwise, any time offered can be offered under the terms (which may change) according to the employer.

So long as they give you adequate notice they may pay you the equivalent of the accrued days and take them away. I agree it might be unethical, immoral, or illogical, but it's not illegal.

I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★). You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars, but note that the rating is what closes out this question, so it is necessary that you do so.

Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 17,487
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you for your response. Yes, I was afraid the answer was going to be that they are within their rights to do this. By the same logic, they could tell us in February that they're buying back some or all of our Vacation time, and that we no longer can use the days. It's pretty depressing! Prior to this Company buying the business from another Company, it was Union, and this wouldn't have happened then. With some discussion and communication, I'm sure this Company could have met its needs without revoking any benefits--- the employees are always willing to help, and we all have worked very hard this summer at fixing a customer approval problem that was not our doing. The Company has gotten sly about not putting policies in writing--- they've never updated the original employee handbook from 10+ years ago (it took them a while to write it in the first place), and there have been major changes in several policies, including the supposed benefit of the Personal Days.
Oh, well. Thank you for your time, and have a good day :)

Yes, I agree it's pretty depressing. Some states they can simply do away with it, and not pay anything. That would be worse. But I'd certainly like to take vacation, especially if it was promised.

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ScottyMacEsq
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Category: Employment Law
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