Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

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SDC20
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Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by SDC20 »

I posted on here recently about losing my job as a pharmacist due to a buyout from another grocery chain. My company was bought out and I received an email stating I had three weeks left before my pharmacy would be closed. I thought my employer would pay out my unused PTO upon this termination, but they're refusing to pay me or any other salary employee. My pharmacy techs which are hourly employees and make less per hour are getting paid their unused PTO, but pharmacists are being told there will be no pay out for our unused hours. One of the main reasons I'm frustrated is most of my PTO requests this year were denied due to COVID, and they weren't allowing other floating pharmacists to fill in due to hotel stays.

I had 123 unused hours which totals 8k dollars. I've been with the company 11 years, and it took me a long time to earn this large amount of annual PTO. Do I have any legal action I can take, or am I just out of a job and 8k in PTO?
jebmke
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by jebmke »

What is the company policy for exempt employees?

When I was working, all vacation, etc was use-it or lose-it. When you left, it left.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
teCh0010
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by teCh0010 »

State law is important here. Many companies have reshuffled vacation accrual and payout policies so it is no longer an asset on the books. They stop paying out at termination, except in states where that is illegal.

Check this chart.

http://ask.legalsolutions.thomsonreuter ... rolling-pl
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galawdawg
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by galawdawg »

OP,

Hope you and your wife enjoyed your vacation!

Georgia law does not require the payment of accrued leave upon separation from employment. Whether or not accrued leave is paid out is a contractual matter between the employee and employer.

is there anything in the company policy or employee handbook concerning payout of accrued PTO on separation?

Of course, IANYL.
Dottie57
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by Dottie57 »

jebmke wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:17 am What is the company policy for exempt employees?

When I was working, all vacation, etc was use-it or lose-it. When you left, it left.
+1

My company called PTO a “grant” in order to get atound “earning” it. It didn’t pass the smell test since it appeared on the paycheck in same way as earning it did.
Last edited by Dottie57 on Sat Jul 04, 2020 8:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
Chicago60
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by Chicago60 »

You should consult with an attorney who practices primarily in employment and labor law representing employees. Contact your local bar association for a referral, or do some research. The answer likely depends on what state you are in, but there may be an applicable federal law since I believe there were recent changes as to who qualified as an exempt employee. For your information, generally, if there is an applicable law and an employment lawyer thinks you have a case, the law probably provides that the employer is responsible for your attorney fees--this gives an incentive for someone to take a relatively small case. Good luck.
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teen persuasion
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by teen persuasion »

Company policy matters, and can change. Find a current policy manual.

When DH was ready to quit, he investigated the payout policies for PTO, sick leave, etc. He had accrued quite a bit over a dozen years. PTO was paid out 100%, and sick leave 50%, IIRC.

A few months later, he heard thru the grapevine that company policy changed. Payouts would be capped at $2500. He had been eligible for and received many times that, most of it the 50% sick leave (because PTO accrual had been capped 5+ years previously). We are both sure the change made immediately after him leaving was not a coincidence.
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Watty
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by Watty »

The company I worked for before I retired changed from traditional vacation and sick time to PTO in part so that they did not need to pay it when people left the company. A lot of the positions were low paid jobs with high turnover so I sure that a lot of PTO was lost by employees that way. You also had to use all your PTO by the end of the year or you would lose it.

That was allowed in some states but not others and even in the employee manual it listed which states followed which rules.

I took a vacation right before I gave my two weeks notice that I was going to retire to try to use that all up but it was still tricky since I was still accruing PTO and in the end I still lost about a day of PTO. :twisted:

The company lost a lot of goodwill with their employees by doing that, but that is sort of the way Megacorps work these days.

Part of any severance package you are getting likely says that you cannot sue for things like this even though you tried to take the PTO and they would not let you.
quantAndHold
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by quantAndHold »

So glad I live in a state that doesn’t allow this.

If I were you, I would feel an illness coming on tomorrow. One that lasts until you’re out he door.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
eagleeyes
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by eagleeyes »

You have the leverage here. They won’t give you PTO. Use up all your sick time and PTO. Call in sick. They are going to replace you in 3 weeks anyway. If you leave early, it would wreak havoc on the pharmacy. When they ask you to come back demand concessions. If not, atleast you still had 3 weeks off
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SDC20
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by SDC20 »

Thanks everyone for the advice. Looks like I might be out of options since the state of Georgia doesn't require the PTO to be paid out. I guess 11 years of employment doesn't get you any favors when big corporate decides to sell out.

I may contact a local lawyer just to ask for their advice, but I'm not expecting anything to happen. My employment just ended with this company last Friday, and once we were informed of the closing they blocked us from taking any additional PTO so that wasn't an option for me.

By the way, we had a great vacation to the Virgin Islands. The beaches were beautiful and it was nice to get away and clear my head before starting my job with a new employer.
HomeStretch
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by HomeStretch »

Best of luck with your new position. Many companies are moving to use-it-or-lose-it or capping payouts of accrued vacation/accrued sick/PTO. In future positions, consider takIng earned time-off regularly no matter how busy the company is. Not only to utilize what you are due but to rest and recharge.
jumppilot
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by jumppilot »

HomeStretch wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:43 am Best of luck with your new position. Many companies are moving to use-it-or-lose-it or capping payouts of accrued vacation/accrued sick/PTO. In future positions, consider takIng earned time-off regularly no matter how busy the company is. Not only to utilize what you are due but to rest and recharge.

Agreed. PTO and Sick Leave are only a benefit if you use it.
raamakoti
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by raamakoti »

Wrong framing can wreck your life.
For example - 99.9% of the people complain about bonuses after they get one. If they don't get one then complains turns to howling. No one receives bonuses upto their expectations. yet no one corrects the framing. Here is the framing I apply. My framing is "This year I will get "$1" bonus". so if I receive $1,000 thats great, because its already 1000 times better than my expectation. Right :)
Same way see if you can apply the framing, Unused PTO was not a promissory note to cash out at the time of termination. Simply wish the employer good and trust in higher power that something good will come and move on. It becomes an issue if you mentally think unused PTO is your money. Few years ago my employer terminated me after 14 years of continuous employment. I was supposed to get "XX" week of severance but they said it was capped max at "YY" for my level of experience. But I never let the framing that I was cheated by so many dollars take over me. never looked back, found another job within months with higher pay than what I was making.

I can give many such examples, most recent one was -
when we bought our home, few things broke like they always do, When furnace broke it started to aggravate me. The seller was realtor and we didn't have much experience buying homes. Out of anger I wanted to find a person to blame, my agent, the inspector, seller, kitchen sink anyone or anything.
But then me and my wife sat and decided let's not put blame on any person. Just let it go. Trust in higher power and good things will happen in this home. Since then we both got promoted and made significantly more money than the 3k I spent on new furnace.
Just try to find the positives in life and drop all negatives and have faith that things will workout.Always and always remember to check your framing of situation.
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8foot7
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by 8foot7 »

raamakoti wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:56 am Wrong framing can wreck your life.
For example - 99.9% of the people complain about bonuses after they get one. If they don't get one then complains turns to howling. No one receives bonuses upto their expectations. yet no one corrects the framing. Here is the framing I apply. My framing is "This year I will get "$1" bonus". so if I receive $1,000 thats great, because its already 1000 times better than my expectation. Right :)
Same way see if you can apply the framing, Unused PTO was not a promissory note to cash out at the time of termination. Simply wish the employer good and trust in higher power that something good will come and move on. It becomes an issue if you mentally think unused PTO is your money. Few years ago my employer terminated me after 14 years of continuous employment. I was supposed to get "XX" week of severance but they said it was capped max at "YY" for my level of experience. But I never let the framing that I was cheated by so many dollars take over me. never looked back, found another job within months with higher pay than what I was making.

I can give many such examples, most recent one was -
when we bought our home, few things broke like they always do, When furnace broke it started to aggravate me. The seller was realtor and we didn't have much experience buying homes. Out of anger I wanted to find a person to blame, my agent, the inspector, seller, kitchen sink anyone or anything.
But then me and my wife sat and decided let's not put blame on any person. Just let it go. Trust in higher power and good things will happen in this home. Since then we both got promoted and made significantly more money than the 3k I spent on new furnace.
Just try to find the positives in life and drop all negatives and have faith that things will workout.Always and always remember to check your framing of situation.
I mean, I generally agree, but accrued PTO is part of one’s pay, so feeling screwed out of it is normal and generally when people screw you over it is not terribly useful to let them. Some fights aren’t worth having, yes, and dealing with how to rationalize those failures is important, but this was presumably thousands of dollars of paid time off the OP was owed and did not receive.
raamakoti
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by raamakoti »

ugaDAWGS09 wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:29 am I may contact a local lawyer just to ask for their advice, but I'm not expecting anything to happen.
Just food for thought, when you already know and expecting nothing would happen why waste your precious time and energy to contact a lawyer. If you still want to contact a lawyer that means there is some hope you cherish with-in you that it may workout and get what you consider is your money.
Let it go for 2 weeks and see what changes in your life, does coffee states different, does your relationships change? Pretty soon you realize the worthlessness and you will become a more happy and contented person. Try it doesn't cost you a penny.
Silverado
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by Silverado »

ugaDAWGS09 wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:29 am
I guess 11 years of employment doesn't get you any favors when big corporate decides to sell out.
Right after the class on financial management in school, there should be one last slide that says this. Next bullet is 'The HR dept. is there for the company, not you.'

I am in a constant state of disbelief that I have somehow sidestepped the OP's experience over the last couple decades. I have had a lot of the castle tumble around me, but somehow have slipped through. I work decently, I am not too terrible of a person in the office, but still think it’s just luck that my number has not come up.
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gwe67
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by gwe67 »

Let us know who the employer is so we can choose not to do business with an unethical company.
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CardioMD
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by CardioMD »

gwe67 wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:25 am Let us know who the employer is so we can choose not to do business with an unethical company.
I’m not sure if you’re being sarcastic or not but this was my thought.

I prefer to spend my money at places that treat people right. I don’t always succeed but that’s why I prefer to buy local and avoid big megacorp as often as I can.
“The stock market is a giant distraction from the business of investing.” -Jack Bogle
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gwe67
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by gwe67 »

CardioMD wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:48 am
gwe67 wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:25 am Let us know who the employer is so we can choose not to do business with an unethical company.
I’m not sure if you’re being sarcastic or not but this was my thought.

I prefer to spend my money at places that treat people right. I don’t always succeed but that’s why I prefer to buy local and avoid big megacorp as often as I can.
No sarcasm intended. I agree with you.
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drgenefish
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by drgenefish »

raamakoti wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:04 am
ugaDAWGS09 wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:29 am I may contact a local lawyer just to ask for their advice, but I'm not expecting anything to happen.
Just food for thought, when you already know and expecting nothing would happen why waste your precious time and energy to contact a lawyer. If you still want to contact a lawyer that means there is some hope you cherish with-in you that it may workout and get what you consider is your money.
Let it go for 2 weeks and see what changes in your life, does coffee states different, does your relationships change? Pretty soon you realize the worthlessness and you will become a more happy and contented person. Try it doesn't cost you a penny.
Best thing I read today. thank you!
AB609
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by AB609 »

That's the way many companies are going. I've gotten 2 or 3 weeks accrued PTO payouts when changing jobs in the past. It provides a great bridge between jobs. The current company I'm with has switched to no formal PTO accruals. You can supposedly negotiate whatever you think is fair with your boss. I have a good relationship with my boss and work from home, so I don't consider it a big deal but do feel like they basically cut my salary when they put the policy in place. I don't take that much vacation and have had only 2 sick days in the past 8 years so the company has gotten the bigger benefit.
bayview
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Re: Employer not paying unused PTO after termination

Post by bayview »

CardioMD wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:48 am
gwe67 wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:25 am Let us know who the employer is so we can choose not to do business with an unethical company.
I’m not sure if you’re being sarcastic or not but this was my thought.

I prefer to spend my money at places that treat people right. I don’t always succeed but that’s why I prefer to buy local and avoid big megacorp as often as I can.
My best guess: https://www.supermarketnews.com/retail- ... tion-bi-lo

Edit to add: I agree. I don’t delude myself that I have any control over the shenanigans of corporate America, but I can at least try to avoid giving miscreants any additional money.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri
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