Does my employer owe me a waiting penalty for PTO?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Does my employer owe me a waiting penalty for PTO?

I worked for my employer full-time and decided to go to on-call status. During my
full-time status, I accrued over a week of PTO. I did not request this as cash
out since I was staying as on-call. During that time, 2 months or more passed and
I only worked one on-call shift, but stayed on the list and still did not request
PTO cash out, just in case I was offered a shift in the future that I could take.

I recently contacted my employer asking for them to take me off of the on-call
list as my schedule would not allow for me to work any of their shifts and that I
wanted to cash out my PTO. On day 2 after the email, my manager fowarded my email
to HR asking for them to help me, but did not directly reply to me. I have not
heard from either my manager nor HR and 6 business days have passed. I live in
California and would like to know what the law is before I continue.

Asked on April 3, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

While you are employed, you have no right to "cash out" accrued but unused PTO. In your state (but not in many states), if and when your employment ends, at that time, they have to cash out or pay you for any vacation PTO (but not sick days) you had earned but had never used.

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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