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PTO Confusion

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  • PTO Confusion

    Hi all…

    I have a question… I am an Exempt salaried employee and my company operates on a “PTO” vacation plan. During this past holiday the plant had a shutdown for a week... 3 of the 5 days were paid holidays and the other 2 were not. Their statement was… “if you want to be paid for the 2 days, then you need to use your PTO in order to be paid… and if you didn’t you would go unpaid for those days.”

    My argument is first and foremost… I am a salaried employee and should n’t I be payed for these days and not have to use my PTO. Especially since it was the companies choice to shutdown? I was reading the law and this is what I found:

    29 CFR 541.118 – Salary Basis…
    (a) An employee will be considered to be paid “on a salary basis” within the meaning of the regulations if under his employment agreement he regularly receives each pay period on a weekly, or less frequent basis, a predetermined amount constituting all or part of his compensation, which amount is not subject to reduction because of variations in the quantity or quality of the work performed.
    (1) An employee will not be considered to be “on a salary basis” if deductions from his predetermined compensation are made for absences occasioned by the employer or by the operating requirements of the business. Accordingly, if the employee is ready, willing, and able to work, deductions may not be made for time when work is not available.

    In turn… because I did not have any PTO to use for those days; they payed me anyway because they said by law they have to… which is right according to the above… especially since I am salaried and would lose my “Exempt-Salaried” status if they did not… and would subsequently have to paid for all the overtime I put in for the past year. Hence they are tricking many other "Salaried employees" into believing that if they don’t use their PTO they would be unpaid! Is this right???

    After I had been paid for the days I figured everything was on the up and up and that the company was being conscious about doing what was right and fair. But, when I came back from the holiday… a week into work I found out that they had deducted vacation hours from my “PTO Bank” for the upcoming year because I didn’t use PTO for the days. I did not give them any authorization to do this what so ever. So now I started the year with a negative 16 hours. Again… is this right?? They dock me vacation hours for days that "BY LAW" they have to pay me for?? This doesn't make sense! And because vacation, under the DLSE is considered to be “a vested wage” (means you are invested or endowed with rights in wages)… can they deduct it. Hence they are deducting my salary, which under federal law is illegal?


  • #2
    All the FLSA says is that you must be paid. It does not prohibit the employer from "advancing" you those hours from your PTO bank for the next year's entitlement.

    As a matter of fact, it would be bad business sense for the company NOT to do this (the only state in which this MIGHT be prohibited is California, that I can think of). Otherwise, the employee could use all his PTO time on purpose, even knowing that he should save some for the shutdown, and suffer no consequences. And that wouldn't be fair to the employees who were conscientious and DID save the appropriate PTO time for that exact occurrence.

    Sorry this isn't what you wanted to hear, but unless you are in California (and maybe not even there), this situation is not prohibited by law.

    OK, I went back and reread your post and I DO see that you are in California, since you mentioned the DLSE. Now, all bets are off.

    Michael, oh California guru, can you comment?
    Last edited by Pattymd; 02-02-2006, 09:12 AM. Reason: noticed that poster is in California
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


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