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Does my employer owe me accrued PTO pay if I quit voluntarily? Massachusetts

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  • Does my employer owe me accrued PTO pay if I quit voluntarily? Massachusetts

    I did a general web search on this topic and got very mixed results; so here goes...

    I live and work in the state of MA, but my employer is based in MS. We are allowed to retain up to 10 weeks of accrued PTO. If you are at the maximum threshold, you simply forfeit any newly accrued PTO until you fall below 10 weeks. The PTO balance doesn't expire at the end of the year; everything you have under the threshold simply carries over indefinitely.

    If I were to voluntarily quit this job, would my employer be on the hook to pay out my accrued PTO balance? Is it possible they put in a clause in the employment agreement that could override any state labor laws or would this not be legal?

  • #2
    Since MA requires the unconditional payout of earned but unused vacation or PTO and you both live and work in MA, your employer would be required to pay out that time to you. No agreement that you might come to between you will override state law.

    MA does allow for one exception to the above when there is a clear, written policy showing that time not used by (such and such a date) will be forfeited, but the policy must be in writing and must provide sufficient time for you to use the vacation/PTO. A policy that all of 2011's time must be used by December 31, 2011 would not fly in MA; a policy that 2011 time not used by March 31, 2012 would not be disputed by the state as long as it was clearly written and the employees clearly were aware of it.
    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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