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Company switched to PTO and took away amount of vacation time that was given at hire.

My husbands company switched from vacation time/sick time to PTO. He was given a total of 4 weeks of PTO. However, when he was hired (and it is in writing) he was promised 4 weeks vacation time plus sick time. Does he have a legitimate right to have increased PTO days to compensate for the guaranteed 4 weeks vacation that was written in his offer letter? Thanks!


Sara Voight
Title: Controller
Company: Critical Signal Technologies, Inc
(Controller, Critical Signal Technologies, Inc) |

I can't respond to the specifics (different states have different requirements), but policies change at companies over time for various reasons. If your husband is a relatively new hire, HR should have known about the pending change and his contract should have reflected language to address this possibility. He can certainly ask about his lost days. It is his right. However, from a management perspective (or corporate leader) when someone comes to complain that they are losing a few days, I am concerned they aren't really on board. Is this an employee who strategically times his vacations to use every possible moment and then wants/needs additional time in case he gets a cold? I have some people like that and I categorize them as 'staff' not leaders. In Detroit, the auto industry got slammed when people started retiring with years (yes, I mean years) of accrued vacation time left. They clocked out on their last day and received paychecks for the next year or more. That needed to change and everyone eventually lost the ability to roll forward unlimited vacation even if they had seniority. Everyone cried foul, but the companies had to change their policies to be able to stay in business and match what other industries were doing.

I have a limited amount of vacation/PTO time at my company, however my efforts are rewarded with occasional flexibility. This is flexibility that cannot be abused, but no one takes me to task when I need to extend my lunch and still leave on time one day. Communication and accomplishment drive the rewards I get where I am at.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

This forum isn't for providing legal advice. Please contact a competent attorney who specializes in labor/employment law.

(Loss Control Rep) |

Actually he is a 15 year employee who does 90% travel. He is rarely home and that has been the way since he was hired. Not looking for legal advice, just looking for what the norm in the workplace is. Twenty PTO days for 15 years of dedicated service does not seem equitable.

Olena Lejas, SPHR
Title: People Empowerment
Company: SolarCity
(People Empowerment, SolarCity) |

I can't give legal advice. From HR perspective, I don't see anything wrong, as long as the company didn't take anything from the already accrued vacation balance. Unlike vacation time, accrued sick time doesn't have to be paid out. PTO can be used as vacation and sick time, but cannot be lost once accrued. Under the new policy of your husband's company, PTO time equals the previous policy for vacation time. On top of it, companies always retain the right to review and change their policies.


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