Can my employer cut my paid time off

by Evil HR Lady on August 27, 2012

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I am an exempt employee working 12 hour shifts, 36 hours on week 1, and 48 hours on week 2. For the past 4 years our previous manager required us to use 8 hours of  Paid Time Off (PTO) per vacation day. Unfortunately this manager has moved on to a new company and I am left with a new manager and some unwelcome changes. In a bid to reduce the amount of coverage needed due to PTO my new manager is requiring us to use 12 hours of PTO per vacation day, turning our 22 days of PTO into 14.6 days. How can he do this?

To read the answer click here: Can my employer cut my paid time off?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Erik Hammarlund September 2, 2012 at 9:15 pm

The legality depends on your state.

In some states–such as Massachusetts, where I practice–this would be illegal. In Massachusetts, earned vacation time is akin to wages, and an employer cannot unilaterally take it away without following certain processes.

You may want to contact an employment attorney before you talk to your employer. “That’s unfair” and “that’s illegal” are two very different conversations.


Evil HR Lady September 3, 2012 at 2:41 pm

They may not be able to take away hours earned, but they can certainly change what the vacation policy is, in every state.

Since the policy was based on hours and the previous boss was allowing extra hours, it would depend on how the policy was written, when the change was implemented and the whim of a particular judge.

It also depends on how vacation accrues.

If it was a change made at the beginning of a vacation accrual year, i doubt it would be considered illegal in any state, including CA, NY and MA.


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