I'm a full-time salaried employee for Company A, contracted out to Company B (I am not considered an employee of Company B, though I work in their office).

The end of the year is coming, and I have a lot of PTO days accrued that will not roll over to next year. So, I put in a request for paid time off over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays to make sure I use them. My manager at Company A was ok with this, but one of the account managers that deals with Company B came back to me and said that, since the contract with Company B says Company A will bill them for 40 hour weeks, it'd be preferred that I make up the time I'd be missing while on vacation either before I go or when I get back (no additional compensation for that additional time, of course).

I love both companies and I don't want to cheat anyone, but I don't feel like this is fair to me. How can I address this request in a way that does not force me to work these extra hours?

  • You are right to question this request; how many hours are you required to work in a pay period? Sounds like they want you to play time games.
    – Donald
    Oct 17, 2014 at 0:42
  • @Ramhound I'm required to put in 40 hours per week. If I put in more, I'm not compensated for it.
    – blakeo_x
    Oct 17, 2014 at 1:56
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    Paid time off is paid time off, the whole point of it is that you don't come to work, and you get paid. Does Company A have a culture of unpaid overtime due to there being more work than workers, though? Oct 17, 2014 at 3:00
  • @Carson63000 it seems that they do
    – blakeo_x
    Oct 17, 2014 at 6:08
  • 1
    I made an edit to your question to remove the legal component since that is off topic. I think the core of your question of how can you avoid working it is a good question and very much on topic. Fortunately the answers already deal with this part of the question so there should be no conflict. Oct 17, 2014 at 13:23

2 Answers 2


If you're employed by Company A, your manager in A gets to make this decision. If Company B is unhappy about it, they can take that up with Company A; the answer may be to have someone else cover B's needs while you're away, or to agree that A won't bill them for the time you aren't working... but either way, it's not your responsibility to negotiate this detail of the contract.

  • 1
    Judging from your answer, I take it there is no legal stance (to your knowledge) that states an employer can or cannot request an employee to make up time missed through PTO? The legality of the situation was the primary reason for my question.
    – blakeo_x
    Oct 17, 2014 at 2:00
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    As far as I know, there is no legal obligation for a business to give you paid time off at the time you want to take it; this is something you need to negotiate with management. Sick time, of course, is impossible to schedule and is thus a special case. Unpaid time off, of course, has to be made up if you want to be paid the full amount; that's what flex time boils down to. ... But B's request is something for them to take up with A, not with you. If A asks you to make up the time, then you need to discuss what they're going to do about not cheating you out of vacation days.
    – keshlam
    Oct 17, 2014 at 2:12
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    The legalities between A and B are contract law, and are Not Your Problem.
    – keshlam
    Oct 17, 2014 at 2:13
  • Isn't that the point PTO is paid
    – Pepone
    Oct 18, 2014 at 13:47
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    @Pepone: If Company A has authorized it, it's paid. Whether Company B believes they should pay A for that time (unless A provides other coverage) is not something blakeo_x should have to to worry about. A and B will work something out between them. Which may require extra hours, but those will be extra paid hours and they'll have to work out whether that's overtime, flextime, someone else's time, or an extension of the contract between the two companies. Engage Somebody Else's Problem field and ignore it.
    – keshlam
    Oct 18, 2014 at 14:56

When working as a contractor, you should try to clear your planned PTO with both your employer (company A) and the client (company B).
You must clear it with your employer, because they have to give the formal approval and make sure that you get paid out of the right budget for your time off.
It is a good idea to clear it with the client as well, because they have to take your absence into account into their resource planning, which is a lot easier if you know that someone will be absent.

The billing of your PTO is a matter of the contract between company A and company B and should not be of any concern to you. In common contracts, your PTO will not be billed, but the cost of your PTO will probably be accounted for in the rate that company A charges.

If you can't get your PTO cleared at both your employer and the client, and your manager at your employer has approved the PTO, then it has become the problem of your employer to see how they can fulfill their end of the contract with the client during your absence.

  • 1
    Actually for contractors having B have such control over your PTO is dangerous the IRS might take that as evidence of disguised employment - A should substitute some one in your absence
    – Pepone
    Oct 18, 2014 at 13:49
  • @Pepone: Are you saying that company A should send a substitute, even if B tells you "thanks for informing me. Have a nice day off"? Oct 18, 2014 at 14:05
  • yep substitution is one of the ways used by the courts to differentiate between a contractor and an employee.
    – Pepone
    Oct 18, 2014 at 14:09

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