Can an employer deny PTO after a vacation has already been taken?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an employer deny PTO after a vacation has already been taken?

The small business that I work for decided to close the week between Christmas and New Years this year 2017 back around October. I had planned on using PTO to cover the time we were off. Upon returning to work on January 2nd, 2018 I was told that we are not allowed to put in any PTO for the week because ‘the company made no money and is tight on funds, so we can’t give out money.’ It is in the employee contract that I may take PTO during this time as follows,

Asked on January 2, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, New Hampshire


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Based on what you write, they should have let you take the PTO that week. That said, it does not appear that you can sue over this, because if you still have the PTO to use at some later date, you have not suffered any loss: the timing of when you would use the PTO has changed, but if you can still take/use the PTO, you have not lost any pay or compensation. Since the law only provides recourse for actual economic losses in cases like this, if still have the time, you have not suffered any compensible loss.

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