Can my employer use my vacation time or dock me time for being late?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can my employer use my vacation time or dock me time for being late?

I work part time 4 hours twice a week . My employer started a new program where if you are ten minutes or more late they take 4 hours of pto. If you do not have any PTO left they will dock you 4 hours pay.

Asked on May 22, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

This is completely illegal. The wage, hour, and labor laws make it very clear that employers must accurately record time and must pay employees for all time worked--so if you missed 10 minutes, for example, they don't have to pay you for those 10 minutes but must pay you for all the time you were there. They can neither dock you pay beyond the actual time you missed or take away PTO (which is the equivalent of docking pay, since you are losing compensation you worked for).
They can terminate, suspend, demote, etc. you for being late--all that is legal. But docking your pay or PTO the way you describe is not, and if they do this, you could contact the state department of labor to file a wage-and-hour claim.

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