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Florida -- unpaid vested vacation

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  • Florida -- unpaid vested vacation

    When I was laid off, I was a non-exempty salary employee on a reduced work week with the same benefits as an employee on a 40 hour per week time basis. The payroll service still had me recorded as a 40 hour per week employee, but at the correct prorated salary.

    At my exit interview, I was told that I would receive all of my accrued and unused vacation on the company's next pay cycle. But, due to this (unknown at the time) payroll data entry error, I did not receive the full value of my vested vacation at my effective hourly rate. Now, after the error was reported to the GM (of a small Florida division), he is reluctant to correct the error, and pay the difference. He views the three weeks of severance pay I received two days after my exit interview compensates for the vacation pay discrepancy.

    I along with several other Florida "at-will" non-exempt salary employees received our layoff notices at the same day, were terminated on the same date, and received three weeks severance pay. All but me have received the full value of their vested vacation. The company is incorporated in California with a division in Florida. All Florida employees received the same written employment handbook as the employees in California. At the time of my exit interview, this handbook states all accrued and unused vacation will be paid to an employee upon termination, regardless of the reason for termination.

    Now, the GM has claimed that he was unaware of my employement agreement with the company, and has demanded written documentation of it from me, although he has access to primary evidence/rationale that substantiates my claim. My former direct manager has emailed him a description of my agreement, and I have identified the existence of secondary documentation to the GM that supports my former manager's statement. I anticipate that this secondary documentation will lead to further solicitation of unnecessary documentation to drag out the resolution, so I have declined to provide it to the GM.

    Am I entitled to the full value of my vested vacation?

    After the exit interview and termination date, can the employer change the company vacation pay policy on only one laid-off employee?

  • #2
    Florida has no wage payment laws regarding accrued vacation payment at termination. There isn't even a law that says the employer must "follow its own policy" in regards to this issue.

    Whether or not the employee handbook rises to the level of a contractual obligation (the great majority do not), only a Florida attorney would be able to advise you. Even if it does, you would have to bring a civil suit for payment.

    The practice of providing severance to other similarly situated ex-employees does not legally obligate the employer to pay it to you.
    Last edited by Pattymd; 04-12-2009, 12:30 PM.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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    • #3
      Thank you for responding...

      Is serverance pay regarded as separate from accrued and unused vacation pay?

      I understand that although severance is not an employer obligation, Florida considers accrued and unused vacation as vested wages...And, although Florida employers are not required to pay accrued and unused vacation to terminated employees, if they have a written employee handbook that states they will, and if they have a history of doing so, Florida employers must do so consistently.

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      • #4
        Yes, severance and accrued vacation are two different things.

        Whether or not Florida law considers accrued vacation vested wages is a matter of contract law, it is not a matter of wage and hour law. Florida has the sparsest wage and hour law of arguably any state. You're certainly welcome to contact an attorney to see if a civil suit is possible.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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