FAQs About Paid Time Off Laws in Texas

Paid time off laws vary broadly among states. Here are some frequently asked questions about PTO laws in Texas.

What does paid time off mean?

Paid time off (PTO) is a human resource management policy that covers employees with an array of paid hours that can be used for any reason. The time an employee is absent from work, while still getting paid is broadly what paid time off looks like.

Does Texas law require paid time off?

In short, both Texas and federal laws do not require employers to offer paid time off (PTO). Employers are responsible for establishing policies on PTO for employees. If an employer decides to provide paid time off, the employer must comply with the policies established under an employee’s contract.

Related: Texas Employment Law FAQs

What is paid time off typically used for?

It is up to the employee’s judgment to decide what they use their available paid time off for. Here are some common examples of what paid time off may be used for:

  • Vacation leave
  • Maternity/Paternity Leave
  • Jury Duty
  • Sick Leave
  • Holiday Pay
  • Disability Leave

Are employers required to pay out employees for paid time off?

Payouts of accrued leave are mandatory in Texas only if such payment was promised to the employee by the employer under a written policy or agreement. If an employee resigns with at least two weeks’ written notice, then employers must give the remaining balance of paid leave granted to the employee at the time of separation.

An employer is not required to pay accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment if the employer’s established policy or employment contract is silent on the matter unless the employer has an established practice of doing so.

What happens to paid time off when you quit?

Under Texas law, unused paid leave is automatically forfeited when an employee separates from their employment.

Related: Texas Minimum Wage Laws: Explained

What happens to unused paid time off?

An employer can cap the amount of paid time off an employee can accumulate over a set time period in Texas. An employer may implement a policy that requires employees to use their paid leave by a set date if an employee does not want to lose the unused time.

What are the exceptions to paid time off requirements?

Texas law requires employers to provide employees with paid time off (PTO) to vote if an employee does not have two consecutive hours outside scheduled work hours to vote while polls are open. Employers cannot deny this right to their employees.

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