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Forced Vacation Questions California

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  • Forced Vacation Questions California

    Let me start by saying that I know forcing employees to take vacation during a company shutdown is perfectly legal. A certain Big Employer in San Jose has instituted "forced" vacations this year on certain dates. They've arranged it so that it's partially during normal company holidays, meaning you have to take your vacation time for the remainder of the week: anywhere from 4 days at a stretch to 2 days.

    Here's my question. Their schedule means I don't have enough vacation days to fulfill their "mandatory vacation" needs. I asked someone about this, and they said they would just deduct the missing days from my accrual for 2010! WTF?! What if I quit or get downsized? I'll OWE them money for vacation days I never wanted to take in the first place! In addition, we didn't get this notice until February, and I had already taken 3 days in January prior to receiving the formal written memo about the forced vacation dates. So, now I'm already in the hole vacation-wise: down 3 days because I didn't know I should save that for their new and exciting "forced vacation extravaganza", not counting the three extra days they said they would deduct from 2010.

    Is THAT legal? I'm salaried. I don't even work in the corporate offices. I carry a bag (sales) and work from home in another state. I COULD work during their stupid shutdowns, and I would work if given the choice just so I could take my vacation when I normally take it: October. I'm really ticked off about this and want to know if I have any recourse.

  • #2
    In California, an employer cannot deduct "advanced" vacation (i.e., vacation that is taken before it is earned or accrued) from your final paycheck. Because of work schedules and the wishes of employees, many employers allow employees to take their vacation before it is actually earned.

    Under California law, vacation benefits are a form of wages, and an employer's practice of allowing employees to take their vacation before it is actually earned or accrued is in effect an advance on wages. Thus, if an employee takes an advance on vacation and then quits or is discharged before all of that advanced vacation is earned or accrued, the effect is that there has been an overpayment of wages which is a debt owed to the employer.
    Somedays you're the windshield and somedays you're the bug.

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    • #3
      Hold the fort a minute.

      In what state do YOU work? The laws of the state you are working in are the ones that matter, and CA's prohibition is unique to California.
      The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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      • #4
        I work in NC but was told by a local employment attorney that I am subject to the laws of CA since the corporate headquarters is in CA and I work in a home-based office.

        I understand that if I, under normal circumstances, was allowed to take vacation I had not accrued that I would owe that back to the company, but I'm referring to the instance where

        1) I was FORCED to take a vacation advancement of time I had not earned, and

        2) was subsequently downsized

        I don't know that I will even be at this company in 2010, and I have no desire to "take" a vacation advancement. If they choose to downsize, I could end up owing THEM money - money I may very well need during a time of unemployment. How is this legal?!

        And what about the 3 days vacation I took before they gave us their formal written policy about their new forced vacation days? Everything I can find seems to indicate they owe a notice of 90 days prior to the first forced vacation date, which they gave, but not until AFTER I had take those days in early January. We didn't get the written notice until mid-February. The first forced vacation days will be in May (near Memorial Day).

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        • #5
          Originally posted by SouthernCharmNC View Post
          I work in NC but was told by a local employment attorney that I am subject to the laws of CA since the corporate headquarters is in CA and I work in a home-based office.
          You might want to give CA-EDD a call and get a second opinion on that. I have been in CA a long time and I have always heard the opposite. This included two different CA employers large enough to have in house legal departments with employees in 25+ states.

          I do not suppose that your attorney cited an actual verifiable source?
          "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
          Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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          • #6
            I do not agree with the attorney. The laws of the state where YOU work are the laws you are subject to. The state of CA cannot force their laws on other states.
            The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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