What is the law regarding PTO being taken away after a clerical error?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What is the law regarding PTO being taken away after a clerical error?

The company I work for contracts a company to do payroll. For almost all

of last year they were giving some co-workers, including myself, a higher rate to acquire PTO than they were supposed to. We had no idea that they were; we just assumed that was what we were supposed to get. On our last paycheck they corrected the PTO to what it was supposed to be with the correct rates. For example, my last paycheck hate 28 hours of PTO on my paycheck stub; my previous paycheck had 74 hours of PTO. I wanted to know what is the law

regarding this issue? From what I looked up PTO is considered wages. If PTO was given out, is my employer required to honor that even if it was an error?

Asked on February 19, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The law does not require errors to be honored: if you receive property, money, pay, a benefit, etc.--and therefore including vacation or other paid time off (PTO) days--when there is evidence that this was not the correct amount, the incorrect surplus or excess may be taken away. If someone  accidentally charged you $100 for an item which was at the time on-sale for $70, they'd have to return the extra $30; the same principal applies.

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