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Accrued Vacation Time in Massachusetts Massachusetts

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  • Accrued Vacation Time in Massachusetts Massachusetts

    Hi -

    I've read references in many of the inquiries to a law that requires the state of MA to pay out accrued vacation time to employees upon termination of employment.

    If such a law/requirement is in existence, is it possible to receive a link so that I may reference it upon request of my accrued vacation time?

    Thanks in advance !


  • #2
    No MA law does not require vacation payout. Vacation is based on company policy. You will want to check your company policy regarding any vacation payout.

    http://www.ago.state.ma.us/sp.cfm?pageid=1114

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    • #3
      Here we go again.

      Yes, the state of MA does require the payout of unused vacation time, and that payout is unconditional. The link to the AGO is saying that it is voluntary for the employer to provide a vacation benefit. In other words, you can be required to work 52 weeks out of the year and it would be legal. However, if a vacation benefit is offered, there ain't no way the employer can avoid paying any unused time at termination.

      Some years ago, the state AG's office issued an opinion letter which implied that use-it-or-lose-it plans are acceptable in MA. An employer CAN cap the number of hours an employee can be allowed to hold, and if they reach that maximum the employer can stop their accrual of any additional time.

      But trust me, I've talked to the AG's office about this on many occasions, trying to write a vacation policy that was acceptable both under MA law, and to an upper management team based in a state where no payout is required ever. My exact words; under what circumstances can an employee in MA lose their accrued vacation time - the AGO's answer; None. You can have a policy that says anything you want, but if the employee comes to us and complains that they didn't get their unused vacation time; we're going to support the employee.
      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
        Dag, Thank you cbg. I was not aware of MA being a state that viewed vacation as vested wages. I will add that to my list of states requiring vacation payout. My apologies margery for giving you wrong information earlier.

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        • #5
          Vacation Carryovers

          Can you limit the amount of unused vacation time to carryover into another calendar/plan year in Massachusetts? Example, employees may only carryover 80 hours of unused vacaton time into the next calendar year. Any excess is forfeited. Is this allowed in Mass?

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          • #6
            Under my understanding of MA law based on the above mentioned conversations, no.
            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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            • #7
              Thank you. My labor attorney provided the following info:

              In Massachusetts vacation time vests as the employee renders his services according to Electronic Data Systems Corp. v. Attorney General (EDS), 440 Mass. 1020, 798 N.E.2d 273 (Mass. 2003), and Advisory 99/1, Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, Sept. 7, 1999. The Attorney General also believes that a "use it or lose it" policy would not be enforceable in Massachusetts. Id. at 1021, 798 N.E.2d at 274. No case, however, has directly addressed this issue. See EDS, at 1021-22, 798 N.E.2d at 274-75 (expressing "no opinion as to whether this contract provision forfeiting vacation pay in the event of an employee's voluntary departure, or a contract provision forfeiting vacation pay on involuntary termination, would violate G.L. c. 149, 148.").

              We must allow to carryover all unused hours, but will implement a maximaum accrual cap to limit our liability.

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              • #8
                I would agree that is the correct procedure.
                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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