Can an employer use more PTO than was actually worked?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an employer use more PTO than was actually worked?

I work in a school system and I had taken an approved personal day on a scheduled
half day. My employer took 8 hrs of PTO when all other staff members only worked
a half day. When I asked about it I was told that because I requested the day off
i had to use all 8 hours even though it was only scheduled as a half work day.

Asked on December 12, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, in this they can do this if you are a salaried employee. Salaried employees either work on a day or they don't; their hours are not counted. So a salaried employee gets her full daily salary if she works *any* time during the day; she is only not paid if she does not work at all. Only days, not hours or part-days, are counted for salaried employees. So a half-day for a salaried employee is the same thing as a full day; if you took a half day off, you still need to use a full day's PTO for the purpose.
If you are an hourly employee, however, your time is tracked and you are paid by the hour. If you miss X hours of work (e.g. 4 hours), then you have to use X hours of PTO (so, again in this case, for example, 4 hours) to cover the absence. If you were an hourly employee, they should oly have used a number of hours of PTO equal to the number of hours you took off.

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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