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Forced Pto - Unaccrued

Corporate Law Discussions

Forced Pto - Unaccrued

Postby Jankia » Sat Dec 24, 2016 9:54 am

Good Afternoon,

My employer instated a policy two years ago stating that employees are required to take 40 hours of PTO during the Christmas timeframe.  I am already aware from my research that this is legal(forced PTO).  My question however is in reference to unaccrued PTO.

I started with this employer roughly six months ago and have less than eight hours of PTO at this time.  My accrual rate for PTO is about forty hours, which would mean I would be forced to go negative on my PTO in order to comply with this policy.  I have been informed that there all employees are required to take this time, even if you go negative.

Two things here.  Number one, I learned that you can be held liable to your employer for negative PTO if you quit or are fired.  Is it legal for them to force you to be indebted to them?  Number two, is it legal at all to force employees to go negative on company forced PTO?

For reference, this is a California employer and I have not been able to find anything specific to my situation.

Any advice/help is greatly appreciated.  Thank you!

ANSWER: It is, as you already know, legal to force employees to take PTO during a particular time of year.  Your other question about going negative is a different story.

You all can be required to go negative.  What cannot happen is having your paycheck reduced at any time because of the negative balance in your PTO account.  In California, as in most states, deductions other than the usual taxes, benefits, etc. cannot be deducted from an employee's check without that employee's explicit written consent.  This is true for any sort of deduction - broken equipment, overpayments, shorts in registers. etc.  Of course, employers do it, but it is illegal and will subject them to a wage claim if the employee reports the practice to the(in your state) Department of Industrial Relations.  

California has a string of court decisions that reinforce this rule.  The DIR says this:     An employer can lawfully withhold amounts from an employee’s wages only:(1) when required or empowered to do so by state or federal law, or(2) when a deduction is expressly authorized in writing by the employee to cover insurance premiums, benefit plan contributions or other deductions not amounting to a rebate on the employee’s wages, or(3) when a deduction to cover health, welfare, or pension contributions is expressly authorized by a wage or collective bargaining agreement. Labor Code Sections 221 and 224. Try to enjoy your week off.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

I just realized one more thing.  This is not a company wide policy and only affects the IT side of our organization.  So people on the sales staff, or HR, etc, are not subject to this policy.  Is it still ok for them to do this even though they are singling out a segment of the organization?

Thank you again!
Jankia
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:42 am

Forced Pto - Unaccrued

Postby VolIny » Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:42 am

Good Afternoon,

My employer instated a policy two years ago stating that employees are required to take 40 hours of PTO during the Christmas timeframe.  I am already aware from my research that this is legal(forced PTO).  My question however is in reference to unaccrued PTO.

I started with this employer roughly six months ago and have less than eight hours of PTO at this time.  My accrual rate for PTO is about forty hours, which would mean I would be forced to go negative on my PTO in order to comply with this policy.  I have been informed that there all employees are required to take this time, even if you go negative.

Two things here.  Number one, I learned that you can be held liable to your employer for negative PTO if you quit or are fired.  Is it legal for them to force you to be indebted to them?  Number two, is it legal at all to force employees to go negative on company forced PTO?

For reference, this is a California employer and I have not been able to find anything specific to my situation.

Any advice/help is greatly appreciated.  Thank you!

ANSWER: It is, as you already know, legal to force employees to take PTO during a particular time of year.  Your other question about going negative is a different story.

You all can be required to go negative.  What cannot happen is having your paycheck reduced at any time because of the negative balance in your PTO account.  In California, as in most states, deductions other than the usual taxes, benefits, etc. cannot be deducted from an employee's check without that employee's explicit written consent.  This is true for any sort of deduction - broken equipment, overpayments, shorts in registers. etc.  Of course, employers do it, but it is illegal and will subject them to a wage claim if the employee reports the practice to the(in your state) Department of Industrial Relations.  

California has a string of court decisions that reinforce this rule.  The DIR says this:     An employer can lawfully withhold amounts from an employee’s wages only:(1) when required or empowered to do so by state or federal law, or(2) when a deduction is expressly authorized in writing by the employee to cover insurance premiums, benefit plan contributions or other deductions not amounting to a rebate on the employee’s wages, or(3) when a deduction to cover health, welfare, or pension contributions is expressly authorized by a wage or collective bargaining agreement. Labor Code Sections 221 and 224. Try to enjoy your week off.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

I just realized one more thing.  This is not a company wide policy and only affects the IT side of our organization.  So people on the sales staff, or HR, etc, are not subject to this policy.  Is it still ok for them to do this even though they are singling out a segment of the organization?

Thank you again!
VolIny
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:18 am

Forced Pto - Unaccrued

Postby Nootau » Wed Dec 28, 2016 3:34 pm

I'm sure that makes it more annoying, but it makes it no less legal.  If it were only applied to people on the basis of race, gender, religion, etc., there might be something to be done about it.  If an employer decides that it does not need a particular group of employees at a specific time of year, the employer is free to tell them not to come in.  Sorry.
Nootau
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:28 am


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