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TX--Forced depletion of vacation.

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  • TX--Forced depletion of vacation.

    I work for a manufacturing company in Texas and have been here for over 3 years. I've got a question regarding forced use and depletion of vacation time as a means to avoid paying out unused vacation to terminated employees.

    Since I've been here, the company has shut down for a week at Christmas time. We are told we must use our vacation time to cover this shut down, though some are also forced to come in and work. Those who must come in to work generally do not get their vacation time back. Instead, they are paid for both their work, and their vacation time. (In my opinion, these shutdowns are not fully thought out and are executed based upon what senior management has planned for the holidays.)

    This year, we have been told that we will be closed for a week during the summer as well, and must use a week of our vacation time to cover this shut down. (I suspect people will still be forced to work.)

    My problem with this lies in the fact that employees with 1 to 4 years of service are "awarded" two weeks of paid vacation a year. If we are forced to use this vacation time to cover a week at Christmas, and a week in the summer--where is the "vacation" part of it? In my opinion, the company is "stealing" vacation time from its employees by shutting down, whether we have plans or not.

    We also earn sick time every month. During these shut downs, we are not allowed to use our sick time--only vacation time. Because of the department I work in (HR), I am aware that the mandated use of "vacation only" for these shut downs is a way to cut down on accrued time being paid out to employees who leave the company, as we pay out for vacation but not for sick time. I am also aware that I am not supposed to "discuss" this tactic, nor am I supposed to say a word against it.

    Is it legal to award vacation time and force an employee to use it over sick time? We are now part of a world-wide corporation, but a corporation that allows every operation to act individually under one name. I do not believe that the headquarters of the corporation is aware of what is going on here and I cannot afford to lose my job.

    Advice?

  • #2
    Texas Vacation

    Yes, it is. In fact, in Texas, an employer does not have to pay any unused vacation to a terminating employee.

    The benefit of this practice to the employer is not to avoid paying vacation to persons leaving the company (as that is not required). It is to take the vacation liability off of the books. (Standard accounting practices require booking vacation as a liability.)
    Lillian Connell

    Forum Moderator
    www.laborlawtalk.com

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