I work for an insurance company as an RN, and have a question regarding the use of PTO time. If I need to take an hour or two off of work, our managers charge us for four hours as they cannot handle the schedule of the nurses in half-hour increments. Is this legal? I would work 6 hours to take two hours off, but am charged 4 hours of vacation and do not get paid for the two hours I worked.
Dear Nancy replies:
The formula you describe for taking time off from work is confusing. Although your employer may have a policy about taking paid time off, it is difficult to make sense out of it as described in your question. Of course, one important factor in this situation is what PTO is defined as by your employer and how an employee can use PTO.
One thing is certain, though: when you work for the employer, you are to be paid for the hours worked. This is a basic principle of both the Fair Labor Standards Act and state laws. Generally speaking, without more facts, not being paid for the two hours you worked is not consistent with these mandates.
You might try contacting your state labor departments wage and hour division and see if you can obtain information on the acceptability of this procedure and whether or not PTO is recognized in your state. In some states, it may not be legally enforceable. You also can obtain information by consulting with a nurse attorney or other attorney in your state who works with employees in the area of employee benefits and who can specifically advise you about PTO and this particular format.