Does an employer need to increase the amount of paid time off days allotted for an observant Jew who needs more days for holidays?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Does an employer need to increase the amount of paid time off days allotted for an observant Jew who needs more days for holidays?

I am only given 8 PTO days for the
entire year. This includes sick days,
vacation days, holidays, etc. This year
alone there are approximately 15 days
that I am unable to work due to Jewish
holidays. I asked if I can get a few
extra days but was told I couldn’t.

Asked on October 21, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, an employer is under no obligation whatsoever to give you additional paid time off for the Jewish holidays. An employer must only make "reasonable accommodations" to religious observance, such as allowing an employee to swap one day off for another (e.g. giving up a Sunday off for a Saturday off, or vice versa), so he or she can go to temple or church, etc. But it is *not* reasonable to pay an employee for, say, 7 days extra days of NOT working: i.e. it's unreasonable to require the employer to give you an extra week of paid time off. You can ask if you can take unpaid days for the additional holiday days--your employer may be required to let you take a day without pay for religious observerances. (Why should your employer, and not you, bear the price or cost of your religioius observances; it is much more reasonable to let you take unpaid time for religious holidays, than to require the employer to pay you without working.)

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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