Canyour employer requireyou to use their short term disability which only pays 70% of your pay and not allow you to use your available sick time?

UPDATED: Nov 10, 2011

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Canyour employer requireyou to use their short term disability which only pays 70% of your pay and not allow you to use your available sick time?

I have several weeks of paid sick leave available with my employer. I recently was out for 2 weeks due to gallbladder surgery. My company is not allowing me to use the paid sick time I have available and instead has made the short term disability insurance through the company pay for the 2 weeks I was out. The problem with this is they only pay 70% of my wages so I am out the 30% when I have over 2 weeks worth of paid sick time available to use where I would have received 100% of my salary. Can they do this?

Asked on November 10, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, South Carolina


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, your employer can probably do this. The fact is that vacation pay is a discretionary benefits. By law, an employer need not provide it. Therefore, to the extent that it does, it has a good deal of say in how such time may be used. Although this may seem unfair, it is perfectly legal to do so. So while an employee is entitled to earned and accrued vacation time, when and why it is taken is up to their employer.

The above holds true unless an employee's treatment is the result of actionable discrimination, or if such a prohibition violates existing company policy, a union agreement or employment contract. Otherwise as a general rule an employer may set the terms and conditions of employment and, in turn, an employee can choose to work for an employer or not.

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 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.

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