Can my employer take away my PTO for just recently becoming a part-time employee?

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Can my employer take away my PTO for just recently becoming a part-time employee?

I have been full-time, and accruing time off for the past 1- 1 1/2 years. In the past 2-3 weeks, I have become part-time as this is my second job now. However, without saying a single word to me, my employer took all of it away. I mentioned it to one of my managers and his response was,

Asked on May 28, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, they cannot: as you correctly note, you earned that time--that is, you performed work in the good faith expectation and under an agreement or understanding (even if unwritten) that you would receive PTO (in addition to your pay and any insurance) for it. If you did your part--you did the work--you employer must do its part and give you the PTO and a chance to use it--i.e. they cannot arbitrarily take it away. Depriving you of the PTO is a breach of the agreement between you. Certainly, they can, as you also note, stop accruring more PTO for you, given the reduction in hours, but they cannot take away PTO you earned any more than they can take back money paid you for work already done. You can sue your employer based on "breach of contract" (the agreement as to your compensation under which you did the work) for the value of the time.


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