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Sick/vacation/PTO is to maintain regular income not increase it California

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  • Sick/vacation/PTO is to maintain regular income not increase it California

    Can sick/vacation/PTO pay be cancelled for a non-exempt employee who ended up working 5 days anyway? Say an employee regularly works Mon thru Fri and the employee called in sick on Tuesday. The employee was on track to receive sick pay for Tuesday but because they ended up picking a shift on Saturday, the sick pay was denied (& no deduction made from their sick leave balance). For the sake of simplicity let's assume 8 hour days. I have always followed this but am having a tough time answering how it is not illegal. Does the policy need to be mentioned in employee handbook? I faintly remember someone mentioning ERISA as a justification for not paying more than regular hours. Few obvious exceptions being overtime and Holiday pay when employees get paid Holiday pay at regular rate and for hours worked, as applicable, for the day.
    Any thoughts?
    Thanks!

  • #2
    For the record, I do not agree with the policy you have described.

    However, it is a legal policy, because no Federal or state law requires that a non-exempt employee be paid when he does not work.
    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.

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    • #3
      Thanks cbg.
      I can understand why you disagree and I understand the opposing stance too.
      If the policy is not clearly stated in the Handbook or any other document then, can the employer enforce it till the policy is documented and formally communicated?

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      • #4
        Policies do not have to be in writing to be enforced. Nor does an employee's confusion about a policy mean that employee gets to choose how the policy is interpreted.
        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.

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        • #5
          Agreed with the other two answers. Past that:
          - It is extremely unlikely that ERISA is involved. ERISA covers retirement plans, health care plans and and any other FUNDED benefit plans using a trustee. Meaning that it is possible that vacation/sick/PTO plans can be covered by ERISA, but practically speaking it is extremely unlikely. Only a REALLY STUPID employer would fund a benefit hour plan through an outside trustee unless forced to do so by their union.
          - If we are looking at federal law only (FLSA), and non-exempt employees only, then FLSA does not care even a little bit about vacation/sick/PTO. If we want to include Exempt Salaried employees then FLSA regulation 29 CFR 541.602 cares a little bit about vacation/sick/PTO, just not about the same things that you are talking about.
          - CLC (CA law) has a broader scope then FLSA, but still CLC does not care about the specifics of your issue. CLC does consider vacation/PTO to be legally vested and would have issues with forfeiture, but that is not what you are talking about.
          - Labor law is mostly the law of paying people for time worked, and in the case of CLC, paying vested vacation/PTO. What you are describing is something that labor law does not address.
          "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
          Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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