Can my employer revoke my accrued PTO?

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Can my employer revoke my accrued PTO?

I have worked for Adaptive, in Indiana, since December of 2017. One of the benefits of working full-time for at least a year, I get 5 days of PTO. In 2018, PTO was available to me. In the beginning of 2019, I went inactive with the company due to my car being wrecked and my TB test not being updated on time. I let the company know that I would be purchasing a car with my tax check come February or March. I was told that was fine and let them know when I was able to work again. Come march, I was placed back on the schedule. I was never notified about being terminated and I did not quit, as I was open about my transportation issue. Im a home health aide, so due to HIPPA laws, I am unable to get a ride to work as I was also expected to work an hour away from where I live. I have now been back working since March of 2019. When I asked to use my PTO for a couple of days that my son was unable to go to school due to illness, they informed me since I had been inactive for 30 days that my PTO had been revoked. I am needing to know if they are able to do this.

Asked on September 17, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

It depends upon what their policies were--policies which you either were actually made aware of or could have been aware of (e.g. were in some sort of policy manual or employee handbook available to you, even if you chose to not read them). There is nothing intrinsically illegal about losing PTO if you are inactive for 30 days, but that must have part of a known or knowable policy of your employer. When you earned the PTO, you earned it subject to the policies in place at the time you earned it; if the policies at that time did not include losing the PTO, then they could not arbitrarily take it away later.


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