Is it legal for state/county employees to be determined ineligible for a merit raise based on sick leave use?

I work for a county agency. Our calendar year is April-March re:sick/vacation use. Upon completion of our most recent calendar year, we were advised a new policy was being implemented stating anyone using more than 64 hours of sick time during the year would be ineligible for newly instituted merit raises and the policy is retroactive for the last calendar year.

Additionally, we were also advised our agency was out of compliance with all

other county agencies for years regarding flex time they all have a flex policy, our agency did not until 04/01. Is it legal to tie a merit raise to sick time use? Is it legal to apply the policy retroactively?

Asked on September 19, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

IF you have a written employment (including union or collective bargaining agreement) guarantying you the raise, then the employer must comply with it; and if they don't, you could take legal action (e.g. a "breach of contract" lawsuit) to enforce your rights under the contract. But if you don't have a contract, raises, especially "merit" raises, are purely discretionary on the part of the employer: they don't have to give them at all; and if they do give them, have 100% discretion or freedom as to the factors they will consider, who gets them, when, how large they are, etc. So without a contract, this is legal.


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