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Entitled to vacation pay out-California

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  • Entitled to vacation pay out-California

    I currently work for an Eating Disorder residential facility and will be giving my notice within the next week or two. I would like to know if I am entitled to vacation pay out when I leave.

    I have been full time for over a year and when I started I was given two weeks vacation immediately, it did not have to be accured. As of 1/1/2008 I will be given another two weeks. Am I entitled to receive payout for the time not used in 2008 if I leave in February 2008?

    It is a new facility with no written protocols or procedures. I have no HR documentation nor did I fill out any paperwork when starting. My vacation was negotiated as as benefit.


  • #2
    This is California's requirements re payout of earned vacation upon termination:
    Unless a CBA provides otherwise, all vested paid vacation time provided by a contract of employment or employer policy that isn't yet taken on termination must be paid to the employee as wages at the employee's final rate. The right to paid vacation constitutes deferred wages for services rendered, and a proportionate part of vacation time becomes vested throughout the employment period.
    Employment contracts and employment policies may not provide for forfeiture of vested vacation time on termination of employment. (prohibits use it or lose it policy on termination)
    Applies to all employers.
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    • #3
      It would be pretty unusual for the vacation entitlement granted on January 1 to be unconditionally vested. Just because they may allow you to take vacation before it has been earned doesn't mean that time is vested. Not saying it isn't possible, just saying it's quite rare.

      At the least, you would be entitled to the pro-rata share of what you have accrued (earned) from your hire date through your last day worked, less whatever you have taken.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by Pattymd View Post
        It would be pretty unusual for the vacation entitlement granted on January 1 to be unconditionally vested.
        It certainly would be a dumb policy for a California employee to have. It is arguably a dumb policy for any employer in any state to have, the legal restrictions on the recovery of wage overpayments being what they are. But many employers are in many states and such policies are perhaps historically more common in other states without California's vacation vesting rules, and it is certainly possible that a less-then-smart employer with some California employees could be using such a policy.

        However if I read the OP's post correctly, there is no written policy and it would be arguably difficult for the employee to prove that such an odd policy existed. Certainly the employee can and should file a wage claim for whatever wages they think are due. It might work, it might not work, but there is no harm to the employee for trying the wage claim route.


        Not the OP's question, but "smart" vacation policies conditionally accrue vacation on a pay period or monthly basis, do not let the employee go "negative", and generally have a maximum allowable balance of earned hours. And the payout upon termination either minimally follows state law (different in each state) or spells out exactly what the employer's payout rules are (within allowable state law).
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        Last edited by DAW; 12-30-2007, 08:06 AM.
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        • #5
          I work for a National firm with operations in California that implemented a 1/01 grant versus a monthly accrual.

          They had an established cap of 240 hours (California law allows stopping the accrual, but not taking away any hours accrued)

          The change from adding 1/12 of the accrual each month to 12/12ths of the accrual on te first of the year would have reduced the accrual by the amount 12/12ths exceeded the maximum banked totalo of 240 hours.

          Many employees would stay ahead of the accrual by drawing down enough vacation to keep getting their monthly accrual and staying under the 240 hour cap.

          They attempted to implement with zero notice, last year, the labor code is quite specific in requiring adequate notice to schedule the time for such a change. They also refused to payout the excess (If scheduling vacation is such a challenge that employees have up to 1.5 years accrued vacation on the books requiring them to draw down to 2 years of vacation in in 10 months to avoid reducing the next years grant was very impractical (The banked year along with the vacation accrued for the current year)

          I am waiting to see the reaction when they have to pay 12/12ths of 2008's accrual amount for a resignation in January or February when they would have only been obligated to 1/12ths or 2/12ths after "simplifying" their bookkeeping


          • #6
            cheap$buyer, if you have a question regarding vacation in your situation, it would be better if you reposted this as a separate thread. I'm not sure whether you had a question or not.
            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


            • #7
              Nope I am OK - Negotated an individual payout since the company "asked" me to cancel two scheduled weeks this summer

              Paid my out of pocket losses for non refundable costs, familly went on the other trip without me

              Just have first hand experience of a change in policy from granting in 12ths to a single grant, based on National laws without consideration of the "vesting" aspect of California law when it comes to vacation time


              • #8
                There are no "national laws" regarding vacation. State is it and California arguably has the most employee-friendly vacation laws in the country.
                I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


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