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Vacation pay upon RESIGNATION, not termination in New York

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  • Vacation pay upon RESIGNATION, not termination in New York

    This may look like a question that's been asked and answered many times, but it's different, I promise.

    I'm aware that "Glenville Gage Company, Inc. v. Industrial Board of Appeals of the State of New York, Department of Labor" requires an employer to have a stated policy on payment of vacation time. If employer has policy, that policy applies. If not, they're required to pay it.

    In this scenario, the employee resigned with proper notice, and the employer DOES have a policy. The policy states that the employee forfeits their saved vacation pay "upon termination." The policy does NOT differentiate between "termination" and "resignation."

    My question, therefore, is this: does New York State law (or would a court) differentiate between termination and resignation? To be more general, the employer's policy in this case probably should have said "separation" if they wanted to include both termination and resignation.

    But since the policy says "termination," is the employer obligated to pay the employee his saved vacation time since the employee was not terminated?

    Thanks for your thoughts on this distinction!

  • #2
    It's less of a distinction than you think. Any time you leave employment, it's a termination. A resignation is a voluntary termination.
    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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    • #3
      Originally posted by cbg View Post
      It's less of a distinction than you think. Any time you leave employment, it's a termination. A resignation is a voluntary termination.
      Here's my follow-up point then...

      Clearly state laws DO distinguish between termination and resignation, evidenced by the fact that you do not qualify for unemployment if you resign, whereas you typically do if laid off or fired (depending, of course).

      Surely if state law distinguishes between resignation and termination for one purpose (determining eligibility for UI), it cannot turn a blind eye to the same distinction for a related purpose (determining eligibility for certain benefits, ie, accrued vacation pay).

      Any thoughts there?

      Comment


      • #4
        But "termination" does not mean "fired or laid off". It means you no longer work there. There are both voluntary and involuntary terminations.

        I'm not just making this up and I'm not playing semantics games. Ask any HR person. Ask the developers of most HR/Payroll softwares. I'll bet if you asked the UI office of your state they'd know what I'm talking about. "Termination" simply does not mean "employer-instigated".
        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.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by pjrcard View Post
          Clearly state laws DO distinguish between termination and resignation, evidenced by the fact that you do not qualify for unemployment if you resign, whereas you typically do if laid off or fired (depending, of course)
          A resignation is also a termination - you terminated your employment. As cbg noted,
          a termination just means you do not work there any more - you could have
          terminated your employment (resigned) or your employer could have terminated it (ie fired or laid you off).
          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

          Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by pjrcard View Post
            Here's my follow-up point then...

            Clearly state laws DO distinguish between termination and resignation, evidenced by the fact that you do not qualify for unemployment if you resign, whereas you typically do if laid off or fired (depending, of course).

            Surely if state law distinguishes between resignation and termination for one purpose (determining eligibility for UI), it cannot turn a blind eye to the same distinction for a related purpose (determining eligibility for certain benefits, ie, accrued vacation pay).

            Any thoughts there?
            Your assumption of a blind eye might be appropriate when laws are crafted together. However most law is piece meal legislation. Frequently laws have unintended side effects based on unanticipated interaction with other laws.

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