Can my employer deduct PTO from my paycheck?

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Can my employer deduct PTO from my paycheck?

The company I am working for has never given me any information on their PTO policy. Now that I am leaving the company they have stated that sense I

am provided a lump some amount of PTO based on working the entire year I have used what would be my allowed amount of PTO up until my final date of

employment and that any hours I have used over the allowable amount will be

deducted from my final check. Can they legally take those funds since I was

never made aware of the company PTO policy and have never signed any

documents acknowledging that I was made aware?

Asked on June 5, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, they cannot unilaterally (without you consent) deduct money for unused PTO from your paycheck even if you do owe them money for using more PTO than the amount to which you are entitled.
PTO *is* generally accrued over time and if you leave before "earning" all the PTO, you do typically have to repay it. If there were to sue you for leaving owing PTO, they would have a good chance of succeeding, since again, accrual over time is the norm. (E.g. the law doesn't let someone take, say, 2 weeks of vacation from Jan. 2 to Jan. 16, then quit on Jan. 17 after being paid for 11 work days while only working 1.) They would have a reasonable chane of convincing a court that they do things they way they say, and so you owe them money for excess days. But they would have to sue you you for the money and prevail in court--they cannot simply take it out of your check.
If they do wrongfully withhold money from your check, you could sue them for it; before doing so, bear in mind that if you did use more PTO than you had yet earned for the year, they could countersue for the money for the excess days you used with a reasonable chance of success. Even though they acted improperly, if you do owe them the money they took out, you may wish to leave matters alone.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, they cannot unilaterally (without you consent) deduct money for unused PTO from your paycheck even if you do owe them money for using more PTO than the amount to which you are entitled.
PTO *is* generally accrued over time and if you leave before "earning" all the PTO, you do typically have to repay it. If there were to sue you for leaving owing PTO, they would have a good chance of succeeding, since again, accrual over time is the norm. (E.g. the law doesn't let someone take, say, 2 weeks of vacation from Jan. 2 to Jan. 16, then quit on Jan. 17 after being paid for 11 work days while only working 1.) They would have a reasonable chane of convincing a court that they do things they way they say, and so you owe them money for excess days. But they would have to sue you you for the money and prevail in court--they cannot simply take it out of your check.
If they do wrongfully withhold money from your check, you could sue them for it; before doing so, bear in mind that if you did use more PTO than you had yet earned for the year, they could countersue for the money for the excess days you used with a reasonable chance of success. Even though they acted improperly, if you do owe them the money they took out, you may wish to leave matters alone.


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