Can my employer advise me that I can no longer take scheduled paid time off on the weekends that I work?

I work at a hospital and have been advised that no employees can take scheduled paid time off on our scheduled weekends to work. We work every other weekend. We have been told that we have to switch weekends with another employee, and if that is not possible we have to be here. Can they do this?

Asked on September 17, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, yes your employer can do this. Personal time off ("PTO") is not an automatic right of employment. Rather, it is a discretionary benefit that an employer may or may not choose to give. To the extent that it is offered, an employer has a great deal of discretion over how, when and if it such time can be used.

This holds true unless there is a union/employment contract or other exisitng company policy to the contrary. Also,actionable discrimination must not be a factor in the new policy.   

The fact is that in the majority of states, employment arrangements are what is known as "at will". Accordingly, an employer can hire or fire someone for any reason or no reason whatsoever, as well has increase/decrease salary/hours, promote/demote, and generally impose requirements as it sees fit.  An employee in turn can work for an employer or not, their choice. 


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