Final Paycheck; Paid Time Off

Legal Q&ACategory: Employment Law & Workers CompFinal Paycheck; Paid Time Off
Reader asked 5 years ago

I quit my job and my manager assured me via email that I would receive my accrued paid time off. I was informed by HR that I wouldn’t receive my PTO as I didn’t give a 2 week notice. My manager didn’t inform me of this policy as I would have worked the additional time in order to get my 3 weeks of PTO. Am I entitled to my PTO since I wasn’t informed of the policy?

1 Answers
Dave Alden answered 4 years ago

Hi, welcome to!
Three huge influences on employment law questions: Which state (assuming U.S.) or country’s laws apply; how large is the employer (different rules often apply based on the number of employees); and what are the employer’s policies or contract?
Not knowing any of those things, I can’t give you a yes or no answer. But I can help you find the answer. First, start with your employer’s published policies (employee handbook) or your contract, and see if it addresses the question. If there is a contract, either directly with you or through union membership, the contract (work rules) might address this. Finally, check the laws in your jurisdiction (state or country) to see if the company’s policy or contract is legal. In other words, would a provision forcing you to forfeit accrued paid time off be enforceable?
To check the laws, click on’s Legal Research tab and put in a search term like [state] paid time off separation. Another example: California paid time off termination of employment. You can play with the actual search terms, and you should get lots of hits.
I live in California and I can tell you that this state has pretty strict laws protecting employees when they aren’t paid whatever is owed them, promptly upon separation from an employer. You might find that your state has a labor department or commissioner’s office with a web site full of helpful information. California has a Department of Industrial Relations and the first link on their web page is File a Claim for Unpaid Wages. I’ve seen two cases there where the employer was not only ordered to pay the employee, they were additionally ordered to pay a fine as well – and that was just for being late cutting the final paycheck. Ouch!
Hope this helps!
Alden Law Group
Aviation & Business
Sacramento, CA
Forum Moderator, Inc.
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