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Various states - california and new york

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  • Various states - california and new york

    I work at a privately held corporation with employees and offices in various states - NY, OH, CA, IL, CO, FL. I am aware that CA has a state law prohibiting forfeiting PTO time if not used within a year - it must be paid out upon termination of the employee, while NY's states that if specifically stated in the employee handbook, for example, an employee may forfeit unused PTO is not used within a particular time frame. Can one company have one policy with regards to employees in one state, while a different policy with regard to employees of another state? And what happens with a state like OH, which I think is silent - following the "policy" of the company - which policy would it follow?

  • #2
    I've seen it done both ways: Establish a policy for the whole company which reflects the most generous state's requirements, or establish a less generous policy with the addendum that state law will be followed for those employees in states with requirements that are more generous than company policy.

    Both are legal.
    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 for the quick reply.

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      • #4
        Are you aware of where I might find a law or court case reference to support the notion that both ideas are legal?

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        • #5
          I don't think you will find a law or court case on this subject.

          First, it should be obvious that paying more money than is required by law to any employee would be perfectly legal. Thus, if it is legal to forfeit the PTO, and you voluntarily decide to pay it out, it makes perfect sense that you can pay it out. There won't be a court case to prove this because no one will sue because they got paid the PTO when they really wanted to forfeit it. Thus, the option to have a uniform policy that is the "best of all states" is clearly legal.

          In terms of having a policy that says "We will comply with state law." Well, this is clearly legal because it simply states the obvious. Of course, it is worthless in terms of guidance to the HR people who actually must implement the policy because it doesn't tell them what to do.

          In any case, both options outlined by cbg are legal. I just have never heard of this particular subject being litigated. If you need a legal opinion, you should hire an attorney and I am sure she would be happy to give you one. I would hope that no one would base important company decisions based on what they read on an internet forum, even if the people posting there are knowledgeable and competent.
          Michael Tracy
          Attorney
          http://www.laborlawradio.com

          Disclaimer: The above response is a general statement of the law and should not be relied upon as legal advice. It only assumes the facts that are stated in the message. The above response does not serve to form an attorney-client relationship.

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