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An employee takes PTO time to have a simple shoulder surgery. Now recovery time is going longer than expected and she needs additional time to recover. She doesn’t have STD. She doesn’t want to use up all of her PTO. Per company policy, employees must use PTO before using FMLA. Is there anything else this employee can do? Can she take leave without pay?

Paid time off benefits are considered a matter of agreement between employer and employee. Thus, employers are generally able to adopt policies or practices as they wish. Employers are also permitted to require employees to use any paid time off accruals while on leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

If it’s company policy that an employee must use PTO to cover absences than PTO must be used. Policies and practices must be applied consistently to all employees in similar situations. Allowing this employee not to use her PTO but requiring all other employees to use their PTO increases the risk of discrimination claims.

Ultimately, the decision is up to the employer. So, yes, she could take unpaid leave. But, again, granting this employee any special consideration may make other employees feel they’ve been treated unfairly. It’s best to require this employee to use her PTO to cover the time off.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 6th, 2016 at 12:25 pm and is filed under
Attendance Management, Benefits.
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