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California vacation payout

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  • California vacation payout

    I have been employed at an organization for 6 years. Many years, I didn't use all my vacation days. Some of the days could be carried over to the next year, but not all of them. I was told by our office manager that I shouldn't worry too much about these "lost" vacation days because I would be paid out for them whenever I left the organization.

    I have just resigned as was told that they will pay me for the days I have accrued this year but not yet used, but that they won't pay me for the vacation days I had previously accrued but which didn't carry over. This is different that what I was previously told, but the origonal office manger is no longer here.

    Is this common, or are there any CA laws pertaining to how unused vacation days are paid out?


  • #2
    Yes, and this violates them. In CA, vacation time is considered wages and time once earned cannot be lost.

    Contact the DLSE if they refuse to pay out those days.
    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 quick reply. is there a particular section of ca labor law i coudl cite or refer to? i'd prefer to discuss it with my employer before proceding onto DLSE. thanks.


      • #4
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


        • #5
          I spoke to a supervisor at my office who said they basically are just capping how much time I could accrue, which apparently is legal. They say they only have to pay me for the hours I was allowed to carry over from last year and those I have accrued since (not the vacation hours I had previously accrued but which I couldn’t carry over). I tried to read some of the labor code- the line seems pretty fuzzy (e.g between the difference in capping hours that can be accrued and the use it or loose it policies). We don't have a personnel manual per say, but our draft personnel manual, which my supervisor referred me to does say you can't accrue vacation hours over a certain amount, but how we actually manage time sheets is a bit different: we accrue hours, but at the end of the year, we are only allowed to carry over a certain number of them into the next year. It is frustrating since I had initially been told (verbally) I would be compensated for those “lost” vacation hours, but I am hesitant to push the matter further since the lines over whether or not they can do this seems pretty ambiguous. Any further advice?


          • #6
            It's not ambiguous at all. Policies which "cap" your balance at a specified number or rate are allowed. If your max balance is, say 200 hours, and you reach that balance, the policy can legally provide for cessation of regular periodic accruals until you take vacation to bring the balance below that amount; then accruals would start again.

            However, once you legitimately accrue vacation, the policy cannot prohibit carry-over and you cannot lose what has already been accrued; any outstanding balance at the time you terminate must be included with your final pay check at your rate of pay at that time. If they do not do that, then you can file a claim for unpaid vacation with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement; you may also be eligible for waiting time penalties of a day's wages for each day the vacation payment is not paid when due, up to a maximum of 30 days.
            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


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