The company I am a full time employee at announced this week that all employees would be required to take the same, one week of PTO in early August. This PTO deduction would be done automatically unless there was an exception. The reasons they stated in the announcement they were doing this are:
- Benefits employees because we are all off the same week so little to no missed work, emails, messages, etc... to catch up on when returning
- Specifically helps take stress off employees who are parents to school age children before school starts again
- Since there has been little PTO taken since the start of the pandemic the employer will reduce liabilites owed due to accrued PTO balances
They did say they would make exceptions for employees that were essential to work that week but would expect anyone who was excepted to take PTO the week prior to the required week. There were some hints that they might make other exceptions for employees who had other vacation plans already scheduled and that no one would be made to go negative into PTO balance.
I had plans this year to travel internationally but not surprisingly those plans were put on hold until early next year so I have accrued a fair amount of PTO. We have until end of March 2021 to use our PTO balance from 2020 so I have some amount of time where I may be able to do this with my 2020 days if things improve. It is my plan to take some time late in the year or early next year to travel (perhaps not internationally) but I chose not to make any concrete plans until the Fall when hopefully things are more certain.
My Question is: How can I best request an exception from this requirement to so I can take a meaningful vacation that is on my own terms and not a last minute rush. The other part of this is I want to keep this bank of days because of uncertainty: what if I get sick (our PTO is also our sick days), what if my aging parents do? Just like having a healthy bank account for emergencies these PTO days would make me feel safer knowing I have a buffer to uncertainty. How can I word this best to my manager and HR so that I stand the best chance of getting an exception.
Side Question: From what I have read likely there is no real legal angle I could invoke here. I work in NC, company is based in FL but has offices in CA as well which this policy applies to uniformly. I did read somewhere that at least in CA it may be required that employers give 90 day notice for mandatory PTO but doubt there is something similar for NC. Is there maybe something I'm missing here like some magic legal words I could invoke in requesting an exception that would help my case? The company did specifcally call our employees with children as part of the reasoning but not having children isn't protected right?