Is it legal for a company with only 2 months notice to require staff to use vacation time for a company shutdown over the holidays?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it legal for a company with only 2 months notice to require staff to use vacation time for a company shutdown over the holidays?

Also, then if the employee has no vacation time left for the year, is it legal to not pay them for the days off?

Asked on November 23, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona


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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Employees mistakenly believe that vacation time (PTO) is theirs to take or not, as they choose; they view such time as a mandatory benefit of employment. However, there is no law requiring that this time be given to employees. The fact is that it is up to the discretion of an employer. Accordingly, since this is a voluntary benefit, an employer can tell you when and how much to take; they can even refuse to let you take it all (unless you have an employment contract, union agreement or other term of your employment that provides otherwise). Bottom line, in an at will employment relationship, absent actionable discrimination or retaliation, a company can set the terms and conditions of employment much as it sees fit.

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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