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PTO payout at less than full value in Massachusetts?

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  • PTO payout at less than full value in Massachusetts?

    Is it legal? Under any or specific circumstances?

    Where does one go (at the state level) to have questions like this answered? The Secretary of the Commonwealth's website and the Department of Labor's don't seem to have a "this is how you ask questions and get answers" section...

  • #2
    I am not the right person to answer most of this question (not my state) but I can say that the Attorney General's office is in charge of this sort of thing in Massachusetts. CBG would know the answer to this question.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      Actually, CBG doesn't. MA laws on vacation are the most convoluted in the US (not even excepting CA) and I've never run into this one before. Of course, I've never tried to pay out vacation at less than full value before!

      Phil, where are you?
      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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      • #4
        I'm back. I've been away trying a case. PTO payouts at less than full-value are not permitted. The best place to look for PTO explanations if the Attorney General's 1999 guidelines on the matter. Here's a link:

        http://www.mass.gov/Cago/docs/Workpl...n_advisory.pdf

        The basic thing to take away from that advisory is that vacation pay is a wage. And wages must be paid out in full upon termination. There's a case pending in our Supreme Judicial Court on the matter, too. It's against EDS. I wrote one of the briefs in support of the Attorney General's position.
        Last edited by CompensationCounsel; 11-11-2008, 09:42 AM.
        This post is by Philip Gordon, a Massachusetts employment attorney (www.gordonllp.com).

        This post is NOT legal advice. It is for general/educational information purposes only. You should not rely on this post if you are making decisions, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. This post may be considered "advertising" under the MA professional rules for attorneys.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by CompensationCounsel View Post
          I'm back.
          Whew!!!!!!!!!
          I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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          • #6
            Nice to see you, too!
            This post is by Philip Gordon, a Massachusetts employment attorney (www.gordonllp.com).

            This post is NOT legal advice. It is for general/educational information purposes only. You should not rely on this post if you are making decisions, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. This post may be considered "advertising" under the MA professional rules for attorneys.

            Comment


            • #7
              Ok, now I'm confused

              "General Laws c. 149, s. 148, provides that no employer shall “by special contract with an employee or by
              any other means exempt himself” or herself from the statute or from its penalty provision in Section 150.
              Since the statute provides for the timely payment of all wages earned, an employer may not enter into an
              agreement with an employee under which the employee forfeits earned wages, including vacation
              payments...The exception is where an employee separates from employment or where an employee agrees to receive
              monetary compensation in lieu of vacation time."

              So does that mean that if I opt to be paid out while still employed, then they can pay it out at less than full value?

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              • #8
                Possibly. I've never seen that tested in court, but it would likely sort out as follows.

                If you're still employed and your employer offers you the option of taking the day off with pay, that's the typical vacation policy. You still have the option of taking the full day with pay, and you still get the full pay if you're terminated.

                But, so far, companies are not obligated to allow employees to cash out vacation pay while they're still employed. So, presumably, if a company offered this feature in their plan, they could set it at less than the day's full value the employee would receive if terminated. As long as they don't deny you the option of taking the day or deny you the full pay if you're terminated, I can't see a court finding fault with the plan.
                This post is by Philip Gordon, a Massachusetts employment attorney (www.gordonllp.com).

                This post is NOT legal advice. It is for general/educational information purposes only. You should not rely on this post if you are making decisions, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. This post may be considered "advertising" under the MA professional rules for attorneys.

                Comment

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