Can an employer take away already awarded PTO?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an employer take away already awarded PTO?

I was hoping to ascertain whether or not my situation with my employer violates any laws. I understand legal help and advice has many laws itself that govern what is and isn’t allowed, so I understand if little or no help can be given but I would be remiss not to at least inquire. New Link Destination
keep it short, my employer has retroactively taken away earned paid time off PTO. I had over 150 hours of PTO on one pay check. The next one showed less than 90. Similar situations are also happening to a number of my co-workers. Corporate claims the accrual rates were incorrect, citing a second table in our handbook with lesser rates than the original table. They have claimed the second table has always been there, but it is not included in the table of contents, not included in the copy of the handbook digitally available to us, and none of the handbooks our employees have signed and are on file have the

additional table either. If the table was added later or even if it had been there but was not signed by any of the employees, can they go in after already having awarded PTO based on the old table accrual rate and take the hours away to make it as if we had always been accumulating hours at the new, lower rate?

Asked on September 4, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether it was a legitimate error or not. Presumably, when you were hired, you were told how much PTO you earned per year. Use that number to determine which accrual table was correct. You are entitled to as much--but only as much--PTO as you effectively agreed to work for in taking the job. If you earned 150 hours+ given the amount you should have been able to accrue per year (you can again use that number to check how fast you should be accruing it), then they can't take earned hours away: you could sue for the cash value of the hours. If on the other hand, you really have only earned, based on what you should be earning per year, 90 or less hours, they can take away hours awarded in error.

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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