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Paid Time Off During COVID-19 Pandemic


The pandemic is bringing up a slew of employment issues. Unfortunately, as many businesses struggle, some employers are are denying their employees earned paid-time-off (PTO). North Carolina employees can accrue PTO over time and an employer must pay it out even in cases of termination. Given the current circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of employers are simply not paying. This is not acceptable.

Paid-time-off or personal-time-off, is an agreement between employer and employee. Companies can use their own discretion when creating PTO programs, but must follow government guidelines. Qualifying examples of PTO include emergencies, vacations, holidays or personal days. Sometimes these are days that accrue throughout the year or the employer has a set amount.

According to the North Carolina Department of Labor, once an employer makes a promise, they must pay all promised wages to their employees. The promise includes wage benefits. Wage benefits are benefits such as, but not limited to, paid-time-off, sick leave, holiday pay and vacation pay.

Importantly, the reduction of an employee’s wages or other compensation cannot have retroactive application. Employers cannot reduce wages or benefits until after notifying the employee. If an employer fails to pay promised wages, employees are eligible for liquidated damages (twice the amount of unpaid wages).

If you or someone you know has been impacted by an employer refusing to pay promised wages, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, Maginnis Law’s employee rights attorneys are here to help you.

Our firm’s employee rights attorneys have experience representing employees like you in employment law matters. You can reach our firm’s employee rights attorneys at (919)526-0450 or through our contact page.