Can employer deduct negative PTO?

I’ve read that employers cannot deduct from an employee’s paycheck if they have a negative PTO balance at the time their employment is terminated. Does this still hold true if I sign a letter stating that I authorize them to deduct from my final paycheck? It’s one of the requirements for me to request to go into the negative. I haven’t signed it yet but I’d imagine they wouldn’t approve my time off if I don’t sign it. Is there a way around it even if I do sign it?

Asked on September 23, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, if you sign it, there is no way around it: by signing the letter, you will have contractually agreed that they may offset your negative PTO against any pay due to you; that makes it legal for them to do so, since employers may deduct from employee paychecks if the employee consents, or agrees--which you would have done by signing the letter. 
The agreement to repay the PTO is an enforceable contract, since you would have received good "consideration" (the negative PTO) for it. Any court would find it enforceable.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.