Can my employer dock my PTO because I forgot to fill out a time card even though I worked that day?

UPDATED: Aug 16, 2011

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Can my employer dock my PTO because I forgot to fill out a time card even though I worked that day?

I am a salary/exempt employee and I work at least 40 hours a week and sometimes more. However my employer requires that we fill out a time card to keep track of our time, and if there are days we forget to fill out on the time card they will dock us PTO for that day. Even though we worked a full day that day and simply forgot to fill out our time card. How can they charge us for a day of PTO even though we worked? That would be like giving up 9 hours for free.

Asked on August 16, 2011 Utah


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

PTO is a discretionary benefit. This means that an employer does not have to provide. To the extent that it does provide it, it can dictate just when and why it is or is not used. The fact is that in an at-will employment arrangement an employer can set the terms and conditions of employment as it sees fit; an employee in turn can choose to work for that employer or not. So unless this violates your employer's own policy, or this action runs counter to an employment contract/union agreement, or some form of actionable discrimination is a factor, no law has been broken. Your employers action is perfectly permissible.

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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