Can my employer force my PTO on me?

UPDATED: Aug 21, 2011

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Can my employer force my PTO on me?

I am a full-time hourly employee. Sometimes I am permitted to leave early (usually no more than 15 minutes) if my assigned tasks are completed. I recently found out that my employer has been using my accrued PTO to bring me up to 40 hours for the week, even though I still worked full-time for those weeks. Does my employer have the right to use that PTO without consulting me?

Asked on August 21, 2011 Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

No, the employer cannot make you use PTO without your agreement, though agreement can be "global" in the sense that if there is an employment contract or agreement, or, for example, some policy in an employee handbook which you demonstrably agreed to, which stated that the employer may use your PTO to bring you to 40 hours if you leave early, then that agreement may be enforceable and it may consitute you having agreed in advance to this treatment.

Note however that an employer only needs to pay you for the hours actually worked, so if you leave 15 minutes early, you don't need to be paid for those 15 minutes. Therefore, it probably is that this behavior has not actually injured you, since you go paid for time that you wouldn't have been paid for otherwise. So technically, your employer may have acted improperly, but it does not seem to have injured you. For the future, you may wish to discuss with your employer what you would like them to do about when you finish early, to make sure you and it are on the same page.

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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