Can my company allow us to get more PTO if we sign a form opting out of being paid for PTO days if we leave the company for any reason?

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Can my company allow us to get more PTO if we sign a form opting out of being paid for PTO days if we leave the company for any reason?

My company is considering changing our vacation policy to either 20 combined PTO days, or 15 days of vacation leave and 12 days of sick leave (27 days total). The reason the first option has less total days off than the second option is they wouldn’t want to have to pay for so much combined PTO if an employee leaves. My idea is to create an option for employees to opt-out, through a signed form, of being paid for PTO upon leaving the company, meaning that we would get 27 days of PTO per year, with the knowledge that we would not be paid for these days if we leave the company. Is this legal?

Asked on June 12, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, District of Columbia

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In Washington, D.C., as in most states, if you earn it, you are due it. So for example, if you earn one day of PTO (paid time off) per month, and you leave on the 11th month of your employment, you earned 11 days of PTO. If you did not use them up and they were intact when you left, you are entitled to payment of 11 days.  You would not be entitled to the 12th PTO (for the 12th month), because you had not earned it yet. So you would need to consider whether all 27 days of PTO would be considered earned at the time of hiring or spread out throughout the year.


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