What is the law regarding the accrual and use of PTO?

My employer offers a PTO benefit that is accrued per paycheck and is used for vacation time as well as sick leave. Our long term disability benefit takes effect after being off work for 2 weeks. The first 2 weeks of absence is deducted from the accrued PTO balance. In order to avoid the risk of nonpayment during the initial 2 weeks, my employer has started to only allow PTO if the employee will be left with at least 80 hours of accrued PTO after the approval. So, in order for an employee to take 40 hours off of work, they must have 120 hours of PTO accrued. This policy change came without any notice, and many employees are now being denied PTO usage that had been approved months ago. Is this legally acceptable?

Asked on July 30, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Employers are under no federal/state obligation to provide PTO pay benefits to employees. Consequently, since PTO is a discretionary benefit, an employer can administer it as it si sees fit as long as no actionable discrimination is involved and no employment contract, union agreement, etc. is being violated.  


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