Can my employer decrease the amount of sick days from 5 days to 3 days without advance warning?

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Can my employer decrease the amount of sick days from 5 days to 3 days without advance warning?

Its a small business with no HR department or Employee handbook. He sent an email today stating our sick days have gone from 5 to 3 every year.

Asked on January 10, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Going forward, or from the date of the notice onward, the employer may reduce your sick days, unless you have an employment contract to the contrary, which guarantees you a certain number of sick days. Remember: the law does not require any sick days--it is voluntary on the part of employers whether to provide sick days at all, and since it is voluntary, they may determine how many.

If you have already accrued a certain number of sick days, they may have to honor those days--that is, they might not be able to take away days which you have already earned, but could certainly reduce how many you get in the future. As to whether they have to honor existing days, it depeds in large part on whether you accrue those days over time, as compensation for work--in which case they probably need to honor the ones you've already accrued--or whether the company simply gives each employee a certain number of days as a "gift" at the start of the year--in which case, they could take away days which they gifted employees (but which employees did not actually earn).


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