Can my employer take away earned PTO because I have become a part-time employee?

UPDATED: Aug 1, 2011

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Can my employer take away earned PTO because I have become a part-time employee?

Can my earned sick, personal, and vacation time just be taken away? I have been full-time, and accumulating sick time for the past 1 1/2 years. Recently I have become part-time (this is my second job). My employer says because of this they will take away all my time earned. I understand if it doesn’t accumulate anymore but actually going in and deleting earned time that I haven’t used? Can they really do that without paying me for the unused time?

Asked on August 1, 2011 Massachusetts


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

They absolutely cannot take away time earned. You have earned the paid time off (sick, vacation, etc). To do so is violative of all labor laws. You are correct; you will no longer earn the type of time off you would have though you should still be able to earn something depending on how many hours you do work and whether PTO is mandatory in your state or left up to the employer. So, your best bet before you jump into looking for another job, talk to your state department of labor on whether this is allowed and what you can do to prevent it. Your best case, quit and cash out what you can. Or continue to work and see if the department of labor can make sure this time is not taken from you.

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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