What is paid time off?

Paid time off – also known as personal time off – is when an employee takes off work while still getting paid by the employer. Likewise, personal time off is when an employee gets paid or unpaid while away from work.


Author: Brad Nakase, Attorney

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Paid time off (also known as personal time off) is paid time away from work, provided by an employer to employees. Personal time off are yours to use for time off from work however you like each calendar year. Although paid time off and personal time off are often use interchangeably, it is a little different in meaning. Paid time off is an employee’s time off work and compensated by the employer. Personal time off is can be either paid time off or unpaid time off.

In this article, our Los Angeles employment attorney discusses paid time off as follows:

Is Personal Time Off the Same Thing as Paid Time Off?

Paid time off usually refers to both sick days and personal time off. While these terms are often thought to mean the same thing, there are slightly different. Paid time off is a form of employee benefit that employers offer in addition to sick days, vacation days, and paid time off. You may consider paid time off as the umbrella term, including vacation, sick time off, and personal time off. Therefore, personal time off is only one part of paid time off. For example, Harvard paid time off includes vacation days, personal days, sick days, paid holidays, and paid leave for new parents. Some businesses also provide other types of days off in their paid time off policies, such as time for appointments and work-related training.

Can An Employer Deny a Paid Time Off or Personal Time Off

An employer can legally deny an employee’s request for paid time off. Likewise, an employer may deny a worker’s request for personal time off. Usually, it is unlawful for an employer to deny an employee a sick day. That said, an employer can legally deny an employee paid time off. But the employer must have a legitimate reason for denying a worker’s request for paid time off, such as scheduling issues.

Can an Employer Ask Why an Employee Is Taking Paid Time Off?

Yes, employers may ask why a worker is requesting paid time off. Workers do not need to tell the employer why they are taking paid time off. An employer may ask why a worker is taking paid time off, but it’s up to the worker’s discretion to give a reason. No law requires employees to explain the reason for their personal time off to their boss. After all, the days are personal by nature. An employer may ask what an employee is doing on their day off, but the employee does not have to provide details. It is also against the law for an employer to demand a doctor’s note for an employee to use one of their sick days as paid time off or personal time off.

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