Can my employer force me to use PTO when it’s not in my control?

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Can my employer force me to use PTO when it’s not in my control?

The city had a water main break and none of the restroms at my job are usable until it’s repaired. We are given PTO hours which function as our sick time and vacation. Generally, the policy is that PTO must be used for any time missed, including tardies, unless makeup time is available in which case you can stay late to make up your tardy for that day. We were told that if we need to use the restroom we are to punch out before leaving and could make up time if we wish. This forces us to use PTO to use the restroom if we have other obligations that prevent us from making it up that same day. Is this legal?

Asked on February 19, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Yes, your employer can force you to use PTO when it's not under your control. There is 1) no right to miss work for *any* reason, whether under your control or not--missing work due to many causess not under your control, such as illness or a flat tire or car accident or fire, etc. is still missing work, and the employer can require you to use PTO for it, as they can require you to use PTO when missing work for this reason; 2) employers are not required to provide PTO in the first place (including sick leave in your state), so if they choose to provide it, they can put rules in place about when you must use it. At least by using PTO, you are being paid.


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