Can an employer use my PTO for time I worked?

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Can an employer use my PTO for time I worked?

Hello,
Recently I was told that if I have to leave work early for any reason, I will
have to use my PTO for the entire 8 hour day. Even if I worked 5 hours, I would
have to use 8 hours of my pto time as if I had called out that day. Is this
legal?

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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not legal.
1) If you are hourly, then they can only use an amount of PTO equal to the amount of time you are out (e.g. 3 hours, if you missed 3 hours of work). That is because hourly employees must be paid for *all* hours worked; PTO is part of your compensation; taking away more PTO than was actually necessary for your absence is therefore substantially equivalent to taking away (i.e. not paying you for) hours you worked, which is not legal.
2) If you are salaried, PTO is not used in hourly increments. A salaried employee gets his or her fully daily salary (e.g. one-fifth of the weekly salary, assuming the usual 5-day work week) if he or she works *at all* that day: if a salaried employee works part of a day, he or she is paid for the full day and therefore PTO is not necessary to cover any hours he or she missed. Salaried employee PTO is used (or not used, as the case may be) in full day increments, not hourly or part-day increments.


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