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Not Giving 2 Weeks Notice - Accrued Vacation Pay? Massachusetts

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  • Not Giving 2 Weeks Notice - Accrued Vacation Pay? Massachusetts

    I am new here but I figured I would ask the experts! I am extremely frustrated because I left my company about a month ago (a very large corporation) and I was a union employee. When I left, I did not give 2-weeks notice because I knew that they would not honor it - they give employees twenty minutes to exit the building. It was a horrible working environment and I had found new job and started a few days after I quit. Human Resources is now trying to say that they don't feel they should have to pay me my 3-weeks vacation time (which renews Jan 1st and I quit on Jan 2). I thought in Massachusetts that they are mandated to pay this? Am I wrong? We did have an employee handbook and a union contract, but it does not say anything about "you must give 2-weeks notice to receive vacation pay". Is HR just trying to say this thinking I won't fight them? Does anybody know the specifics in Massachusetts regarding the labor law to pay out accrued vacation time. Also, if it is important, because we are union, we never sign for anything, so they do not have proof that I received an employee handbook. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I wanted to put the horror of my last job behind me and now they are fighting me on this and I am extremely frustrated. Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    In MA they are required to pay out any vacation time that you have already accrued at the time you terminate. They are NOT required to pay out any time that you would accrue over the course of the year.

    Few if any employers, especially in states like MA where vacation payout is mandatory, give you the entire block of vacation on January 1. In almost all, if not all, cases, you accrue the vacation over time. Unfortunately, since many employers will allow employees to use time in advance of it being earned (which in my opinion is a very bad idea but which does not violate the law) employees often think that they have accrued vacation which they actually have not.

    The very strong likelihood is that you had not accrued any of 2008's vacation time on January 2 and there is no vacation time to pay out. The exception would be if your CBA says otherwise.
    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.


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply! Per our contract, our vacation does renew on January 1 - meaning that if I wanted to take three weeks vacation starting the 1st, I could. The reason I know this is because I was told the week before I left that I qualified for 3 weeks vacation starting Jan 1, 2008. We don't accrue our time over the course of the year - it is given to us on the 1st of every year. HR isn't questioning the 3 weeks time, they are saying that because I didn't give 2-weeks notice, they shouldn't have to pay me for the vacation time I earned. Knowing this, would this change your initial response? Thanks again for responding!


      • #4
        If you take the union out of it, and assuming that you are understanding the situation correctly (I can't tell you the number of people who have assumed that because they could take all their vacation in January that meant they owned it all on January 1, and found to their chagrin that they were wrong), then my understanding of MA law would mean that it was owed to you.

        However, as soon as you insert a CBA into the mix, it all changes. It is not impossible that your CBA does have such a restriction and that your failure to give two weeks notice means that you forfeit the vacation. And I'm not going to attempt to interprete a CBA that I have not read.

        What does your union steward say?
        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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