Can my employer advise me that I can no longer take scheduled paid time off on the weekends that I work?

UPDATED: Sep 17, 2011

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Can my employer advise me that I can no longer take scheduled paid time off on the weekends that I work?

I work at a hospital and have been advised that no employees can take scheduled paid time off on our scheduled weekends to work. We work every other weekend. We have been told that we have to switch weekends with another employee, and if that is not possible we have to be here. Can they do this?

Asked on September 17, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, yes your employer can do this. Personal time off ("PTO") is not an automatic right of employment. Rather, it is a discretionary benefit that an employer may or may not choose to give. To the extent that it is offered, an employer has a great deal of discretion over how, when and if it such time can be used.

This holds true unless there is a union/employment contract or other exisitng company policy to the contrary. Also,actionable discrimination must not be a factor in the new policy.   

The fact is that in the majority of states, employment arrangements are what is known as "at will". Accordingly, an employer can hire or fire someone for any reason or no reason whatsoever, as well has increase/decrease salary/hours, promote/demote, and generally impose requirements as it sees fit.  An employee in turn can work for an employer or not, their choice. 

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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