If our company switched payroll companies and now we’ve lost sick hours, is this legal?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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If our company switched payroll companies and now we’ve lost sick hours, is this legal?

My sick time dropped from 48 hours to 24 hours when we switched payroll companies and we have zero sick time coverage for the first 90 days with the new payroll company even though I’ve worked there three years. This is the first time in 3 years I’m wanting to take sick time and they’re telling me I don’t have coverage for almost another 2 months. Is this legal?

Asked on August 16, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You accrued or earned those hours and the right to use them by working--they were effectively part of your compensation. An employer can certainly change policy going forward on notice (e.g. reduce hours earned; prevent or reduce carryover to subsequent years) but cannot simply without notice take away your accrued hours or eligibility to use already earned hours. What you describe is illegal.
Try contacting your state's department of labor; they may be able to help you. Unfortunately, if they cannot or will not (e.g. they feel this falls outside their responsibility), they only way to get those hours back would be to sue your employer, so you'd have to evaluate whether doing so is worthwhile.

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