What are my rights if my employer forces PTO on its employees if we are sick or are closed on non-payment holidays?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What are my rights if my employer forces PTO on its employees if we are sick or are closed on non-payment holidays?

It has its benefits but it also has negative repercussions if an employee has to be off for other reasons beyond their control. They have a fit if we are negative starting a new year. Is this whole process legal? And if so, why can’t we decide if we want paid or not during these periods? Most of us can’t even take a vacation anymore without going in the hole.

Asked on December 12, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that PTO is a discretionary benefit provided by an employer. This means that it is not legally required to be provided. Accordingly, an employer can mandate when and how it is used. Absent state law to the contray, or if this mandate violates the terms of an employment contract, union agreement or company policye, it is perfectly legal. In an "at will" employment arrangement, an employer can set the terms and conditions of employment much as it deems fit or necessary(absent some form of actionable discrimination/retaliation).

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