What can be done if my wife’s company has been changing policy on work scheduling and paid time off?

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What can be done if my wife’s company has been changing policy on work scheduling and paid time off?

A month and a half ago, my wife put in for time off for a family vacation, which was well in advance. She would have accrued the necessary paid time off in order to take vacation. Last week my wife’s company announced that you can only request time off based on time they have on the books, future accrual is not taken into account, which would mean that the vacation home that we already paid for would be wasted. I would be out $1700. ,Also her company charges employees PTO when they send the employee home due to lack of need. Unless the employee provides in writing that they do not want to be charged PTO for being sent home, they get charged.

Asked on July 8, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

1) An employer can generally change its policies about schedule, vacations, etc. at will, but there are two limitations:

a) the change is only effective from when it is announced forward, so it should not affect previously authorized leave; and

b) if in reliance on the company authorizing the leave, you reasonably incurred costs, the company may be liable for those costs (e.g. the vacation home) if their actions cause you to be unable to take advantage of or otherwise waste the money you spent.

Therefore, the company should honor its decision to let your wife take vacation, made before the announced policy change; and if they do not, they should reimburse you for the vacation cost you reasonably incurred based on what they said.

2) A company may *not* charge employees for PTO if the company does not have work for them and sends them home for lack of need (the company doesn't need to pay them for time they do not work, but that is a different issue). If they have improperly charged PTO, the employee may be able to get it back or get compensation for it.

You should speak with an employment law attorney to evaluate your options--you may, as discussed above, have legal claims, but to vindicate your rights, may have to sue. Suing your employer is not done lightly, hence the need to consult with an attorney in some detail.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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