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Vacation Accrual Cap California

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  • Vacation Accrual Cap California

    Last month our company distributed a new Employee Handbook. One change that was made in the vacation accrual was that they have decided to cap vacation accrual at 1 times the annual rather than the previous 2x the annual. Luckily I caught this change and realized that a number of my employees had immediately stopped accruing vacation time because they had reached the new cap. The employees scheduled vacation to be taken (but are required to give at least two weeks notice and may not take vacation at the same time) but until they actually go out on vacation, the accrual has ceased. Some people were not able to get vacation approved until two months from now and they are very angry that they will lose the accrual up until they take vacation.
    By lowering the accrual cap without notice, the company has effectively cheated these employees out of their accrual for the next few months. Is this legal?
    BTW... had I not noticed the change by reading the handbook cover to cover... it would not have been brought to anyone's attention. It was a sneaky thing to do.

  • #2
    Yes, it is legal. Once upon a time it would have been counter to the DLSE's policies to cap it at less than one year and nine months worth of accruals but that rule has been revoked.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      Reasonable time to use.

      Shouldn't they have given notice before lowering the cap? This would have given adequate time to the employees to use their accrual before halting it. Don't they have to be given a reasonable amount of time to use it before making a change in policy to circumvent the employees accrual?

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      • #4
        I am unaware of any CA law that requires advance notice of a policy change. Off the top of my head I can only think of two states where advance notice is needed; SC and MO. There may be more but I haven't had occasion to research every state. If someone is aware of such a law in CA (and I am not saying there isn't - only that if there is, I've never run into it before and I do, and have, had employees there) they are free to correct me.
        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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        • #5
          Should? maybe. Legally required to give a certain amount of "reasonable" notice? nope. I've worked where my vacation was capped with very little notice so it is annoying but it is hardly the end of the world. No matter how much notice you give someone is going to think it is not enough and or you risk suddenly getting flooded with vacation requests. Heck, my vacation has been capped for months where I work now.
          I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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