Is it legal I’m sick today and my employer is trying to tell me I have to use a vacation day to take off?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it legal I’m sick today and my employer is trying to tell me I have to use a vacation day to take off?

I was told if I were to take off due to being sick today I would be forced to use a vacation day is that able to be enforced.

Asked on May 17, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, an employer need not pat PTO (i.e. vacation or sick days). Therefore, to the extent that it chooses to do so, it can set the circumstances under which it is used. Accordingly, it can mandate that vaction time be used to cover an absence. That is unless doing so would violate the terms of an employment contract or union agreement. Otherwise, in an "at will" employment relationship, a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit, absent some form of legally actionable discrimination.

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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