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Manager refuses to grant accrued PTO. Is this allowed? New York

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  • Manager refuses to grant accrued PTO. Is this allowed? New York

    Hello all. My fiance has accrued about 20 days of PTO this year. We are getting married in June, so she will be taking about 15 days for wedding and honeymoon, and 3 days for the bachelorette party.

    The issue is when she requested the time off this week, her manager refused to grant the 3 days for the bachelorette weekend. Her response was "I cannot approve your May vacation. It is too much to ask for when you will be taking 3 weeks off in June and when we are in our teamís busiest time of the year."

    My issue is that the time is already accrued and available for her use, and there was no blackout dates that were dictated of any kind prior to and even after the request was made. Is the manager really allowed to decline an employee request to take off time considering the advance notice given (3+ months), along with the fact that they weren't given any type of black out time for being "too busy" to allow her to take off?

    Any help would be appreciated.

  • #2
    Yes, it's legal. Employers have no legal requirement at all to give/offer any vacation (unless possibly there is a binding contract requiring it). The employer is not doing anything wrong/illegal. When they offer vacation, they can say when it is taken.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Betty3 View Post
      Yes, it's legal. Employers have no legal requirement at all to give/offer any vacation (unless possibly there is a binding contract requiring it). The employer is not doing anything wrong/illegal. When they offer vacation, they can say when it is taken.
      While I understand they are not required to offer it, it was also my understanding that they are required to act within their standards of practice. They do offer it, without specific restrictions. For example: terminating someone in an at-will state. While a company can terminate for any reason (other than protected class), if the proper steps that are within their standard business practices aren't taken (i.e. they have a tiered warning system before termination, but fail to follow it with this specific employee before simply terminating), they could still have legal ramifications against them, should a former employee pursue legal action. It could be viewed as a form of discrimination, which I feel our situation may very well be. I hope that makes sense.


      • #4
        First of all, there is no legal requirement that an employer follow its handbook with regard to termination procedures. It may be a best practice, but it's not a legal requirement. A handbook could outline a progressive disciplinary policy, but there could be good and compelling reasons why terminating an employee and getting him/her out of the building ASAP is necessary. Most handbooks are written with a disclaimer that they do not constitute a binding contract; it would be the very, very rare exception that the handbook where your fiancee works would rise to the level of a contract.

        Second, it is not illegal discrimination to deny someone's vacation request. Illegal discrimination is when someone is adversely treated based on their gender, race, handicapped status, religion, etc. Nothing in your post indicates that she is being discriminated against based on a protected characteristic. Many employers limit vacation requests during their busy seasons. When I worked at accounting firms, no one was allowed vacation between January 1 and April 15 (tax busy season). We didn't even get the federal holidays (MLK Day and President's Day) that fell in that period. Three months notice may seem like plenty of time to you and your fiancee, but it's actually not that much during busy season.

        I understand that your fiancee is not happy about her manager's decision. It's up to her as to how to handle her disappointment in a professional manner.
        Last edited by Marketeer; 01-28-2016, 12:44 AM.
        I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!


        • #5
          Honestly, I don't know a lot of jobs/employers that allow for 3 weeks in a row off using PTO even if you have it accrued -- many limit the amount taken at any one time. So maybe she/you ought to look at the fact that the employer is being VERY reasonable about the June request rather than the fact that you think they are being unreasonable about the May request. And yes, the employer can control when PTO is used even if they have no specific blackout days or policy. And employers can take into account the reason also and when the person used or will use another large chunk of PTO within a specific time period. And another employee or employees might have already asked off for that time in May. I am much more likely to grant a long absence for a medical reason (if not covered under FMLA) than I am for something that is much more controllable and truly a want, not a need. That is not illegal discrimination at all. And business needs will generally come first with an employer for a want vs a need.


          • #6
            Barring any FMLA situations or a legally binding and enforceable contract that expressly and in so many words says otherwise, there are no circumstances whatsoever in which the employer is required by law to approve PTO time, regardless of how much time the employee may have available. It really is that simple.
            The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


            • #7
              Totally allowed and not at all uncommon. If this is the busy season, your wife to be should already be aware of that. Three weeks is a lot to take off for a wedding. Asking for more time at the busiest time of year wasn't the most professional. Her choices are to reschedule the bachelorette or do it on a weekend/scheduled days off.
              I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.


              • #8
                Three days for a bachelorette party?

                Can I go?