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  • Final Paycheck Deduction, Used Vacation?

    Salaried Employee for 1 year gives Letter of Resignation with 2 weeks notice that states separation date.

    On last day of the two weeks I worked (Day before separation date established in letter) I was told casually by another office worker (accountant) that I would only be getting paid for 3 days in my last paycheck which would be deposited the following day.

    I asked why there is a deduction? And why am I being told just now? And why is it not written notice or even from my supervisor? (no HR and boss/supervisor is the owner)
    _ _ _ _ _

    Employer's Claim:
    Used 9 vacation days but only earned 4 based on their accrual system.

    _ _ _ _ _

    I asked for a copy of the policy and was told it is in the employee handbook and to go look it up... I told them I never received a handbook and would need a copy to understand what he means.

    Employer says: "You have a handbook, it was given to you when you were first employed and we have proof through the acknowledgment form that you signed." (allegedly)

    I say: "I never signed an acknowledgment form because I never received nor read through an employee handbook. In the past I was actually told that it did not exist for salaried employees.."

    Employer angrily asks: "Are you calling me a liar?!"

    I say: "No.. I'm just concerned about my final paycheck and would simply like some clarification.."

    Employer says: "Well what? You want to see the form you signed or something?!"

    I say: "Sure, I would love to see the form and have a copy"

    Employer digs through my employee files/records and can't find the form. I tell him that is because I never got one. Employer goes through the pile of papers two times and on the third time pulls out a page called "General Employee Packet Agreement" that I signed as a summer co-op three years ago. I was a summer intern for 2 summers while in college and then was rehired full-time as salary upon graduation. (Packet included w2 tax info, general safety info, email info, at will employment info - but definitely no handbook nor handbook acknowledgement form. In the past I even asked if we had some sort of handbook and I was told that there isn't one because we are less than 50 employees? what does that have to do with anything?)

    Regardless, I thanked the employer for the copy of the document and asked again for a copy of the handbook since I still have no idea what is in it. I told him, "Whether or not he thinks they gave one to me.. I obviously do not have one now and need it."

    They printed one out for me to review and asked if I would sign it. I signed it on the top away from the designated signature line and dated it to the current date, then asked them to do the same. They said only if they can backdate it to when I was first employed.... I said, "In that case, no thank you." I took the copy of the handbook, said I'll see you tomorrow for my last day and walked out because it was 5pm.

    Now it is my last day and I am scheduled to have an exit interview soon. I am wondering what to do. The policy within the handbook does lay out their vacation policy and its accrual setup but only defines company payout to the employee of unused vacation. Nothing is stated about used unaccrued vacation being paid back to the employer through last paycheck deductions?
    • Is the deduction legal?
    • Is it legal without proper notice of the policy?
    • Legal without explicit notice?
    • Legal even if the supervisor approves every vacation and at the start of the year he told me I have 10 available vacation days to use as of January 1st?


    So confused, Need help. Please!

  • #2
    Do you dispute that you got paid for vacation time that you had not yet earned (the 5 days not accrued)? Ohio does require payout of accrued vacation unless the employer has a written vacation forfeiture policy. But in your case, you are in negative accrual.

    As to the question of whether you got a handbook and signed it or not....while neither can prove you did or didn't, I think you will have a tough time winning this one because you did in the end get all the pay owed. Much of what I posted in the quote below says the employer has to establish the policy and give notice. The question is were you given notice? But I am not an expert in Ohio wage laws. Hopefully someone else can let you know if you have recourse. You can always file a wage claim and see where it goes.

    Here is what I found on Ohio vacation pay laws (underlining is mine):
    "In Ohio, employers are not required to provide employees with vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide such benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.

    An employer may lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract denying employees payment for accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment, so long as the forfeiture policy is clear and explicit and the employees have notice of the policy. See Ervin v. Oak Ridge Treatment Center Acquisition Corp., 2006 Ohio 3851 (OH App. 2006).

    An employer may also lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract disqualifying employees from payment of accrued vacation upon separation from employment if they fail to comply with specific requirements, such as giving two weeks notice or being employed as of a specific date of the year, so long as the forfeiture policy is clear and explicit and the employees have notice of the policy. See Ervin v. Oak Ridge Treatment Center Acquisition Corp., 2006 Ohio 3851 (OH App. 2006).

    An employer is required to pay accrued vacation to an employee upon separation from employment if its policy or contract requires it. See Fridrich v. Seuffert Construction Co., 2006 Ohio 1076 (OH App. 2006).

    An employer is required to pay accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment if the employer’s established policy or employment contract is silent on the matter. See Fridrich v. Seuffert Construction Co., 2006 Ohio 1076 (OH App. 2006).

    An employer may lawfully cap the vacation leave an employee can accrued over time, so long as the employer has properly notified its employees of the vacation policy. See Ervin v. Oak Ridge Treatment Center Acquisition Corp., 2006 Ohio 3851 (OH App. 2006).

    An employer may lawfully implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy requiring employees to use their leave by a set date or lose it, so long as the employer has properly notified its employees of the vacation policy. See Van Barg v. Dixon Ticonderoga Co., 2003 Ohio 2531 (OH App. 2003).
    "

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    • #3
      When did you take the vacation time? Was it in the final pay period or spread out over several weeks? What does the handbook say about how vacation time is earned?

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