Vacation Pay: I was terminated and my employer won't pay my unused vacation pay? Should I be paid for vacation time?

May 15, 2010
By Villanueva & Sanchala on May 15, 2010 9:46 AM |

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for above-the-bar-logo-no12.jpgIn New York, employers are required to pay a separating employee for accrued but unused vacation pay unless the employer issued a written policy outlining how and when an employee can forfeit vacation pay. Most employers in New York State do not have such a written forfeit policy. It is important to remember a separating employee is only entitled to "accrued and unused" vacation time. For example, if an employee, who did not take any vacation time during the year, is terminated on June 30th and the employee earns 12 vacation days per year (one day on the first of each month), the employee would be entitled to be paid for 6 vacation days (January to June) not 12 days. The vacation pay must be paid no later than the regular pay cycle when the employee was terminated. If the employee is offered a severance agreement, the payment of accrued but unused vacation should be clearly stated in the severance contract.

It is worth pointing out that employers in New York are not required to provide vacation pay, sick pay or any benefits to employees. However, many employers do provide such benefits to remain competitive in the job market and to attract quality employees. Finally, it is also worth pointing out that, absent any agreement or policy, employers are not required to pay sick pay to separating employees.

In New Jersey and approximately twenty-five other states, absent a policy or agreement, employers are not required to pay terminated employees for vacation pay. Nonetheless some employers with offices in a multiple states, including a state with the law similar to New York, will voluntarily pay accrued vacation to terminated New Jersey employees because the employer may strive to treat all the employees same. That being said, New Jersey employees should review the Company's employee handbook and policies and procedures regarding the Company's position on vacation pay.

Employees may have legal rights if they not paid their vacation pay. If you, your loved one or friends have not been vacation pay, contact our Vacation Pay Attorneys to discuss your possible case at (800) 893-9645 or send us an email.

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