Is this legal

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Is this legal

I work for a accounts office..my dad was
dying last year with cancer which he now
has passed.i had to take time off from
my job in his last days.my employer told
me he understood my position and to take
the time i needed.now 5 months later I’m
being told I owe him for that time
although he paid me during that time and
they want the time back .basically I’m
going to be docked for the time i was
given.Is this legal?.

Asked on January 7, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If they told you that you would be paid for the time and you only took the time after being told that, they cannot charge you for it now: you reasonably relied to your detriment on their promise, and such "detrimental reliance" can support "promissory estoppel," or them being held to what they promised and you relied on.
But that's only if you can show that they affirmatively told you that you would be paid. There is no inherent right in the U.S. to paid time off for family emergencies, unless you use paid time off (PTO) you earned for it; even FMLA leave, for example, is unpaid. If you were merely told that you could take the time without losing your job--since you can be fired for missing work even for a death in the family, without using PTO or FMLA--then you would have to repay the time, since in this case, they only promised you that you could have time off--not that you'd have unpaid time off. They may have paid you then either as an oversight or a courtesy, but if that was not what you were promised, you have to repay the pay to which you were not in fact entitled.


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