Was it legal if I was recently laid off and my employer withheld my negative vacation PTO time from my last paycheck?

It was approximately 15 hours. I was salary. There was no written company policy re: deduction of negative PTO from last check (or any method of repayment), and no signature from me allowing this.

Asked on February 15, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Rhode Island


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unlike most end-of-termination deductions, this one is most likely legal, because it isn't really a deduction: if you had negative PTO, you took PTO despite not earning it yet. That means that you were already paid those 15 hours, by being able to take paid time off (being paid for not working) you had not accrued and were not yet entitled to. In essence, those 15 hours were paid early to you, so there is no actual deduction. If you received those 15 hours on your check, you would have been been overpaid by being in essence paid twice for the same 15 hours.

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