Benefits and Compensation, HR Management & Compliance

Ask the Expert: Clear, Consistent Paid-Time-Off Policies Are Vital

Question: An employee worked his entire 40 hours by Wednesday and has requested paid time off (PTO) for Thursday and Friday, bringing the week’s total hours worked to 56. Are we required to pay him for the additional requested time, considering he had already worked his 40 hours and our handbook says PTO is to be used to make up for lost days?

Answer: The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) doesn’t require employers to compensate employees for time not worked. You have the authority to impose certain requirements regarding when employees may or may not use available PTO, provided your PTO policies are clearly written and consistently applied.

Because your handbook says PTO is to be used for lost days and the employee has already worked the required 40 hours, you aren’t required to pay him for additional time beyond the standard workweek.

Patrick M. Ngalamulume is an attorney in the Boise office of Parsons Behle & Latimer. He can be reached at

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