I started a work contract in August 2017, which came with 10 days of paid time off. I was not actually given access to my contracting company's PTO system until December 2017 though, so until the end of the year I was not able to use any of my days off. When my contract was up for renewal, I emailed my point-of-contact with the contracting company, asking if my PTO days would be renewed if I renewed the contract. They said yes, so I decided to renew my contract. However, after I've renewed the contract, they're now telling me that my PTO days should have reset at the beginning of the year, so they will not reset them now. This seems very sleazy to me, especially since they're claiming my PTO days reset shortly after I was given access to their PTO system. I still have the emails where they claimed my holidays would reset when my contract was renewed. So, what options do I have to convince them to stick to their word?

closed as off-topic by Dan Pichelman, gnat, IDrinkandIKnowThings, Michael Grubey, Elmy Aug 30 '18 at 5:53

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  • What country are you in? And what does you contract say about it? – Peter M Aug 28 '18 at 16:06
  • @PeterM I'm in the United States and my contract just says that I have 10 days of PTO - it doesn't say anything about when my PTO resets, because the contract is only valid for one year. And the contract just got renewed last week. – Austin Aug 28 '18 at 16:12
  • 3
    Then you have a legal question which can't really be answered here. This is lawyer territory. – Peter M Aug 28 '18 at 16:16
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    You may need to get legal advice, but your contract supersedes any "policy" or "system" at your employer. It's their problem to track things, not yours. Your obligations are what's in your contract. – Wesley Long Aug 28 '18 at 16:18
  • You can negotiate for a vacation buyout or more PTO days for this year. You couldn't have reasonably used your PTO, because they didn't give you access to the system early enough and PTO resets every year. – jcmack Aug 28 '18 at 17:44

Your options here are a bit, well limited.

I would start by forwarding the emails on to your contact, re-iterating that you were unable to use last years PTO, and would like to have back the PTO for use and see what they say.

Your options if they say "to bad" are:

  1. Hire a lawyer and sue them for it, as you say you have emails. Doing this will most certainly either cause them to cancel your contract as soon as they can and you most likely won't be renewed.
  2. Just eat the PTO. This sucks I will admit, but at least you don't hurt your chances of keeping the contract during the next year and you shouldn't impact your chances of being renewed.

Going forward, make sure all such things, like left over PTO are clearly accounted for in your contract. This will make it very difficult for them to screw around with.

Crap choices for sure. Good luck.


The problem is with your contact person at the contracting company. Give this person a phone call and explain that you deserve your PTO and just as he/she wouldn't give up his/her PTO, you intend to pursue it and ask them who you should speak with for assistance. If they refuse to help, thank them and end the conversation. You have given this person a chance to do the right thing.

It's time to speak to someone with more authority at the company. Find the email or phone number for the head of human resources, this information should be on the company's web site or call their main number. Explain your situation and appeal to their sense of fairness, never make any legal or other threats.

If the head of human resources refuses to help, then you can either consult with an attorney, many offer free phone consultations, or contact the department of labor relations in your state. Either way, start looking for a new employer as there is no benefit to staying with one who treats you unfairly. Good luck.


As a contractor, no they should not, renewing your contract means signing a new contract, and the new contract is what dictates your employment terms, not your old one.

Now, there's a lot you could've done in the year leading up to this to avoid this situation, but let's not focus on that. What you should do now is... use your weight, you make the contracting company a ton of money, and that's why they gave you the PTO in the first place, so directly ask your contact and then your contact's boss for it and chances are you'll get it.

Also, my understanding of how this works is the PTO comes out of the contracting company's pocket (a reason they'd want to screw you), unless their contract with the direct employer has a clause for compensation for PTO (but I haven't seen such a setup).

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