All Wyoming PTO Laws and What They Mean for Employers

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Wyoming doesn’t have much in the way of paid leave and PTO payout laws. This is in direct contrast to its neighbors Colorado and Nevada, both of which have laws in place that mandate paid leave to eligible employees. 

This means the onus is entirely on employers to offer fair paid leave policies. But even if you plan to create an amazing, employee-friendly leave policy, you still need to make sure everything follows the letter of the law.

Here are the federal and state laws you need to know as you put together your Wyoming PTO policy. If you’re looking for payroll laws, too, see our guide to Wyoming payroll tax laws.

All Federal and Wyoming PTO Laws 

Before we get into the leave laws you should know about, keep in mind that employers are subject to both state laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA. Employees benefit from whichever law is more favorable to them. 

Think of it this way: the FLSA acts as a backstop in the absence of applicable state laws. So if your state has a minimum wage law, that’s what you must pay employees. If your state doesn’t have a minimum wage law, you default to the FLSA minimum.

Colorado has a minimum wage of $14.42 an hour, so that’s what Colorado employers must pay. Paying the federal minimum would be against state law. But Wyoming does not have a state minimum wage, so employers must default to FLSA’s minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. 

Here are the relevant state and federal PTO laws to know if you work in Wyoming or have employees who do. 

Paid Time Off

Wyoming doesn’t require employers to offer paid leave. State law simply says that employers must follow whatever policies they put in place. This matches up with the FLSA’s rules on paid leave, too. 

So, if your employee handbook or policy says you’ll pay out unused PTO at the end of the year, that’s what you must do. 

Wyoming is also a use-it-or-lose-it state. If you want to write a paid leave policy that states employees will lose their PTO if they don’t use it by the end of the year, you can. But you must make sure you give employees plenty of time to use their PTO—and you can’t deny any leave requests. 

The state also lets employers enact policies that: 

  • Only give employees the year’s earned PTO once they reach their work anniversary date
  • Prevents new employees from earning vacation time until they reach the first anniversary of their start date 
  • Don’t pay out the year’s earned PTO if an employee quits before their work anniversary date

In short, Wyoming law favors employers. Aside from mandating that employers follow the contracts in place, Wyoming has no laws protecting an employee’s right to their PTO.

But just because you can create policies like this doesn’t mean you should. Read our guide to creating an employee-friendly PTO policy to see what we recommend. 

PTO Payouts 

There are no federal PTO payout laws and no state laws requiring you to pay out unused PTO in Wyoming. Thanks to the state’s allowance of use-it-or-lose-it policies, you don’t even have to pay out unused PTO when an employee quits or is terminated. As long as your employees are fully aware of this type of policy and have agreed to it in writing, that is. 

We don’t recommend implementing use-it-or-lose-it policies, though. Instead, use PTO accrual caps to strike a fair balance between keeping employees happy and staying on budget. 

Meal Breaks and Rest Periods 

Wyoming has no laws requiring meal breaks or rests, so employers must default to the FLSA. Federal law also does not require meal breaks or rest periods for workers 18 and over. However, if you do allow breaks between 5 and 20 minutes, you must pay employees for that time. Breaks that last 30 minutes or more do not need to be paid. 

Family and Medical Leave 

Wyoming has no family and medical leave laws, whether paid or unpaid. But the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) mandates that employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month timespan. 

Employees covered under the act can take this leave for specific family and medical reasons, and employers must continue to provide the same health insurance coverage. Employers must also have the job ready and waiting for the employee’s return—the job is protected under FMLA for up to 12 weeks. 

Employees can take up to 12 weeks of protected, unpaid leave for the following situations: 

  • Birth of a child and/or care for the newborn child within one year of their birth
  • Adoption of a child or housing of a newly placed foster child for up to one year 
  • Caring for a spouse, parent, or child with a serious health condition
  • Having a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to do their job
  • Any qualifying, urgent situation relating to a family member being part of the military 

Federal law also allows for up to 26 weeks of leave during one 12-month period so an employee can care for a covered servicemember with a serious illness or injury.

Since Wyoming has no sick leave, parental leave, or medical leave laws, you’ll default to the federal laws here. But we suggest implementing a PTO policy that’s generous enough to cover sick days

Bereavement Leave 

When a beloved family member or friend passes away, nothing’s worse than thinking about work. That’s what bereavement leave is for. 

Unfortunately, Wyoming does not mandate bereavement leave. Neither does federal law. 

But employers in Wyoming—and every other state—should absolutely offer time off for bereavement. 

And it should be for a lot more than three days, which is pretty standard among companies that do offer this type of leave. 

A more generous compassionate leave policy is up to 20 days. This is what companies like Adobe, General Mills, and Mastercard offer their employees. You can decide to provide these days paid or unpaid. If you can swing it, paid bereavement leave is one of the best ways to help your employee in their time of grief. That way, they don’t have to worry about losing income while mourning the death of their family member. 

You should also consider offering a flexible work schedule during the first year after an employee’s loss. Think remote or hybrid office hours, for example. No one recovers from a loss in 20 days. Even though it’s considered generous, that’s barely enough time to process the shock of loss and make funeral arrangements. 

Offering a flex schedule gives employees more time to grieve in private if that’s what they need. 

Our guide to creating a compassionate bereavement leave policy can help you put together the best policy for your team.

Holiday Leave 

Wyoming doesn’t require employers to give employees holiday leave. Neither does the federal government. Neither set of laws requires employers to pay employees for the holidays they do take off, although many do. 

And while state and federal employees must take all state and federal holidays off, private employers can make everyone work on every single holiday. (Not that they should—not without bonus pay, at least.)

Jury Duty Leave 

According to Title 1, Chapter 11, Article 4 (§ 1-11-401) of Wyoming’s Code of Civil Procedure, employers cannot penalize employees for serving jury duty. They can’t fire employees for missing work for jury duty or take any other punitive actions against them. If employers break this law, they will face penalties and pay a fine of up to $1,000 per infraction as per Wyoming law in § 1-11-401.

Employers aren’t required to pay employees for the time they miss work, but many do anyway. The State of Wyoming also pays jurors a (very) small daily stipend of $30 a day, plus mileage reimbursement. 

This isn’t nearly enough to make up for the lost work, which is why paid jury duty is one of the most valuable leave policies you can have. 

Voting Leave 

Federal law doesn’t require employers to give employees time to vote, but Wyoming law does.  According to Wyoming Election Code, § 22-2-111, voters are entitled to one hour that is not a meal break to go vote. Employees must not lose any compensation during this hour as long as they do indeed use it to cast their legal vote. 

This means for hourly workers, you will still need to pay them for the hour they used to go vote. 

This law doesn’t apply to workers who have three or more non-working hours in a row while polls are open. 

Military Leave 

Both federal and Wyoming state laws require employers to offer military leave for employees. 

In Wyoming, state, federal, and county officers and employees get paid and/or protected leave for up to 15 days in one year if they’re part of the National Guard or any state or U.S. military force. 

Private employers will default to the rules outlined in the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). So will federal employees if they exceed the 15 days of Wyoming-mandated paid military leave. 

Under USERRA, service members have the right to be reemployed after any time of service with all the seniority, rights, and benefits they would have gained if they had stayed continuously employed. For most employees, though, this only applies for up to five cumulative years of service. 

They have the right to keep their insurance through their employer for up to 24 months of their military duty. 

Employees must give advance notice of their leave, though, and there’s a specific process service members and employers alike must follow when they return. 

This mostly has to do with making sure both parties have followed all the applicable reemployment and anti-discrimination laws. See the employer checklist at the bottom of the federal USERRA page for more details. 

And if you want help keeping all your PTO policies organized and compliant with all the relevant laws, use payroll software. We’ve rounded up the best payroll software services to make your decision easier. 

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