What are my rights regarding the use of vacation time?

My employer does not let me take half days at work without making up those hours at some other point during the week even though I have sufficient vacation to cover that time. They, instead, insist that I take the entire day off in order to be able to use my vacation time. For example, I cannot use 4 hours of vacation for taking off a half day. I would need to miss then entire day of work to utilize my vacation time. If I only missed 4 hours of the day, I would need to work an extra 4 hours that week. My employer would not let me use 4 hours of my accrued vacation time. I currently work as a salaried employee. Is that legal?

Asked on October 7, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Absent a union/collective bargaining agreement or company policy to the contrary, your employer can mandate just how and when vacation time must be taken. Even though most employees believe that they have the right to use accrued vacation time whenever they choose, this simply isn't the case. The fact is that neither federal law nor the laws of most states mandate that vacation time or PTO even be offered to employees. Such time is a discretionary benefit on the part of an employer. Accordingly, to the extent that private-sector employers decide to offer PTO, as a general rule, they can design and implement their policies in almost any way they deem fit. 
Note The scheduling of PTO must not constitute some form of discrimination or retaliation.


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.