What are the legal requirements when moving from vacation/sick time to PTO?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What are the legal requirements when moving from vacation/sick time to PTO?

I work in 1 state and my my employer is based in another. We currently have employees in these 2 states plus a third. All employees are being moved from having vacation, sick and personal time to PTO. I have accrued/earned 64 hours of vacation time and 320 hours of sick time the sick time is being carried over as

Asked on December 6, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If you have a written contract for your sick, etc. time, its terms must be followed; if they are not, you can sue to enforce those terms if necessary (a lawsuit for "breach of contract"). But without a contract, an employer can change sick, vacation, etc. policy, which includes changing the rules on carrying it over (such as on how long it may be carried, or how much may be carried). The employer does need to provide some reasonable opportunity to use time the time, subject, however, to reasonable rules about using it--e.g. making sure sick time is only used when actually verifiably sick, and not as de facto additional vacation or personal days. If they are transitioning over the course of approximately a year or more, as you indicate, what they are doing is legal. Bear in mind that the purpose of vacation time is to take vacation each year, so that employees do not burn out; the purpose of sick time is to use it for legitimate illness; despite the fact that some jobs (like certain teaching and fire/police jobs) let you "bank" it indefinitely and use as deferred compensation to be paid out when your employment ends--as per union or collective bargaining agreements), that's not actually the purpose of those days and the courts have no problems with policies (or policy changes) that require employees to actually use the days as intended.

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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