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Q&A: Can we give employees different amounts of vacation or PTO time?

If the differing amounts of vacation or PTO are based on a clearly-defined employee groupings, such as seniority, department, or exempt versus non-exempt status, then yes. It’s a common practice, for example, for employers to offer more vacation time to employees who have been with the organization for longer.

Where you can run into trouble is offering different amounts of vacation on an individual basis or without clearly-defined criteria, either of which can lead to discrimination claims. For instance, if Rafik and Anita are hired at the same time for similar jobs in the accounting department at the same rate of pay, but the organization offers Rafik more vacation, Anita could potentially bring a claim under federal or state discrimination or pay equity laws.

Answer from Jenny, SPHR, SHRM-SCP



Over her 20 years of experience, Jenny has specialized in helping small to mid-sized businesses across a variety of industries reduce their risks and manage employee relationship issues. Jenny holds a Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA) degree in Human Resources Management from the University of Georgia and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a concentration in Human Resources Management from Georgia State University.

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HR Girlfriends™ is a Human Resources networking organization dedicated to advancing the practice and culture of people empowerment. Our team of Girlfriends consult, train, educate, develop, share, promote, and advocate for solutions in the field of human resource management.

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