Employer won’t pay for sick days but has in the past

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Employer won’t pay for sick days but has in the past

I have worked for the same company for a
little over 3 months. I recently missed 3
days due to an illness and now they claim
that they don’t have to pay me for the days
without a doctors note because of company
policy. I have never been provided any
policies or handbook stating these policies.
Are they able to do this or do I have rights
against this?

Asked on November 15, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Do you earn or accrue sick days while working at a set rate (e.g. one hour per week)? If you do, those earned or accrued days are part of your compentation, and while they can stop letting you earn them in the future (the same way your employer can change or reduce your pay in the future), they have to let you use (i.e. pay you for) days you earned or accrued to date.
But if you did not actually earn or accrue sick days, then the employer was just choosing to voluntarily pay you--they did not have to pay you, but chose to do so. They are not bound by what they voluntarily did in the past and could change the policy at any time, without notice. So unless you earned sick days at a set or defined rate, they could do this.

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