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severance plan question California

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  • severance plan question California

    I'm located in California and work for a multi-national company. I expect to be notified that I am being laid-off in mid January. The company severance plan summary says that there is a 9-week notification period. "This means that once an employee is notified that their position is being eliminated, they will remain on the payroll for nine weeks."

    The plan summary also says that that, "Employees will be paid for their unused, accrued vacation time earned during the year of their notification and any unused vacation carried over from the previous year."

    My question is, once I have been notified that I'm being laid-off, can my employer force me to use my accrued vacation time during my notification period, to avoid paying me for that time at termination?

    (A response to a related question in another area, causes me to believe that this is possible.)

  • #2
    Yes they can.

    Comment


    • #3
      I believe that employees who have been notified are not supposed to do any additional work during their notification time. In that case, the employee who carries unused vacation, and is required to use it during this period receives no additional value for that time, versus the employee who has no earned vacation time. This doesn't seem to agree with California law that employees cannot be deprived of earned vacation.

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      • #4
        As long as they get the value of the time off they are not being deprived of the time.

        You have 2 weeks vacation but are not allowed to work for 9 weeks, but must take and be paid for vacation the first two weeks is fine.

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        • #5
          In that case, someone with zero weeks of accrued vacation is paid for their un-worked 9 weeks of notification time. Someone with 2 weeks of vacation is paid for 2 weeks vacation and 7 weeks of notification time. Both employees receive the same amount of pay, and the person with the vacation time has lost the value of that time.

          I thought California law treats accrued vacation as wages that cannot be lost. In the above example the wage value of that time is lost.

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          • #6
            You're not losing the vacation. You are using it & being paid for it during two of your nine weeks.
            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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            • #7
              Agreed. While CA law considers vacation/PTO to be legally vested, CA does not have any requirements for "notification time". It would be possible to write a legal possible that complies with CA law on vacation/PTO that also follows the type of policy you describe.

              Now did the employer write a legal policy? You could always take a copy of the policy to a local attorney and see if there is some contract law flaw in the policy. Anything is possible. If there was such a flaw, it would be very specific to the exact wording of the contract. And past that, the argument would have to be made that the employer's policy is indeed a contract - legally that is not true for all policies.
              "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
              Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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              • #8
                Really??
                If employee A has 2 weeks vested vacation, and employee B does not, but both are notified of layoff on the same date, and both receive the same amount of pay after notification for the same amount of time not worked, it seems like it would just be a book keeping manipulation to deprive employee A of the value of his 2 weeks vested vacation time.
                Last edited by indianmcguy; 12-18-2008, 07:53 PM.

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                • #9
                  Then rest assured, that is not what is happening. As far as labor law is concerned, the employer is not only paying for the 2 weeks vacation required (per your facts) under CA labor code section 227.3, but are paying an additional seven weeks not required anywhere in the CA labor code.

                  Or are you claiming that there actually is a requirement in the CA labor code that supports your position? If so, can you cite the labor code section?
                  http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html

                  For your employer to violating the law, there must first be an actual law for them to violate. Making up a catchy phrase like book keeping manipulation is wonderful if that is what makes you happy, but at the end of the day, you need to be able show that your employer actually is breaking some kind of law. So far all you have shown is that your employer is paying you for 7 more weeks then was required by law.

                  ------

                  One more time. If you are really serious about this and not just venting, you will need to take all documents to a local attorney to see if a contract law argument can be made.
                  "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                  Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

                  Comment

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