The United States is one of the only developed nations in the world that does not mandate paid vacation time for its workers. While no state in the union gives every worker guaranteed time off, California employees are lucky to have some of the country’s strictest laws protecting employee vacation time.
In California, employers must abide by their established vacation policies. While there is no requirement that an employer offers vacation time, if the employer chooses to offer it then the employer must enact policies that apply equally and fairly to its employees.
Employees that accrue vacation days are entitled to payment for those days on their last day of work. Vacation time is treated the same way as earnings, and must be paid to the employee at termination. An employer cannot enact a “use it or lose it” policy, where earned vacation days are lost if they are not used before the employment ends. Similarly, an employer cannot take away unused vacation days at the end of its calendar or fiscal year. However, there are some exceptions to this rule for workers who are part of a collective bargaining agreement.
While an employer cannot take away unused vacation days, the company can create a limit or ceiling on the number of vacation days that employees can accrue. For example, an employee may be allowed to earn up to 20 vacation days; after that point, he or she would stop accumulating days. Once some vacation days are used and the worker drops below the ceiling, he or she could continue accumulating days again.
Additionally, California law prohibits employers from giving employees lump sum vacation time after the worker reaches a certain milestone. The Department of Labor usually frowns upon these types of policies, and views them as a way for the employer to avoid paying full wages in case the employee quits.
If you believe that your employer may be acting illegally when it comes to your vacation time, it is important to review your company’s policy thoroughly. California law requires employers to follow their own policies and contractual provisions, and those policies will generally govern how vacation time is managed.
If your employer fails to follow the company policy, fails to pay you for accrued vacation time after you leave your job, or attempts to take away your earned vacation time, you may be able to file a lawsuit seeking compensation and other damages. To learn more about your options and to talk to a professional Sacramento Wage Lawyer, contact Labor Law Office, APC today.
Sacramento, CA 95821