My (sorta) new job has recently implemented a new PTO policy.  You earn so many hours per pay period depending on seniority.  I've only been there six months so will barely earn enough for a trip home by late December 2013, which I've already requested for Christmas so I can fly home to see my elderly mother, (which I told them at the time I requested it).   My first year won't be complete until October, at which point I'll have enough hours.  First, they told me they can't approve my PTO until I've actually earned the hours, but my supervisor said she'd make a note of it so I could get it (I kept her e-mail in case she "forgets").   BTW, this PTO policy is for any time off, sick, vacation, personal, whatever.  

Okay, so I get that.  Then last week I was sick, (first time since starting in October and only missed one day, though should have taken more.  I'm no spring chicken)  Now I had planned to just lose the pay so I could keep my PTO for my Christmas trip home.  Well, come to find out they're forcing me to take 8 hours for my sick pay.  Going pay-less is not allowed unless it's an emergency and I guess a stomach bug doesn't qualify.  They said I should have "made up the hours".  Kind of hard to do when the pay period is already over when they give me the news.  I've only got about 11 hours stored up thus far.  My concern is, if something else comes up between now and December, I won't have the necessary PTO in the bank and they'll refuse my request, in spite of asking for it a year ahead of time and buying plane tickets.  All this happened when we were taken over by another company, (they call it merged) and everything just went to hell.   Can they really force me to use my PTO when I've reserved it for something else?  

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