Can an employer reduce sick time balance due to inaccurate reporting by a supervisor?

UPDATED: Mar 2, 2012

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Can an employer reduce sick time balance due to inaccurate reporting by a supervisor?

I have worked at the same company for 10 years. We accrue 10 sick days per year. It was my supervisor’s responsibility to report sick time to H.R. on a monthly basis for the first 9 years of my employment, at which time it became my responsibility. During the first 9 years, my supervisor neglected to report sick time used, leaving me with a large balance of unused sick time. At present, I am about to take paternity leave and my supervisor has just reported my sick time for the past 9 years, and H.R. has accepted this report, which has decimated my balance. Is this legal? What is my recourse?

Asked on March 2, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Connecticut


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

What you describe is legal, assuming the reduction is factually correct--that is, that they took out the amount of previously unreported time and no more. A mistake on the part of an employer in accounting for use of sick time does not entitle the employee to more sick leave; nothing in the law prevents an employer from correcting the mistake after the fact. If you  should have had the time debited earlier, then the company is not taking away anything you earned or had a right to--it is simply correcting a mistake.

(Consider: if the company had accidentally taken away too much sick time in the past, then if you discovered that mistake, they'd have to credit you back for the mistakes--the same principle applies in reverse when you were the beneficiary of a mistake.)

Certainly if you believe the company is taking too much time now, you can challenge their accounting--they can only take away as much time as should have been deducted in the past.

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