Post # 1
I just put in my two week notice with my company first thing yesterday morning. My last day of work will be July 5. I have a significant amount of unused paid vacation time and I was told that it will not be paid out. However, when I look at the NC Department of Labor website I am given this information:
Does an employer have to give its employees vacation time off with pay?
No. Vacation is a wage benefit that may or may not be provided at the discretion of the
employer. However, if the employer does promise vacation pay or vacation time off with pay, then the employer must have a written vacation policy which clearly explains how the vacation is earned and how it can be taken. Also, any earned vacation must be paid at termination unless the employer has a written forfeiture clause which clearly explains how the earned vacation can be taken away.
I’m a little confused as to the term termination and whether that includes voluntary separation. I’ve double checked our employee handbook (the most recent version available, not the one I was given at the start of employment) and it doesn’t have a forfeiture clause. This is all it says about vacation time:
Paid Time Off
(My company name) provides vacation and sick days as follows: Sick leave is accrued at the rate of one half sick day per month. Vacation is accrued at the rate of one week of paid vacation in the first calendar year of employment .Two weeks paid leave from year 2 forward. Vacation-leave not taken in calendar year will be lost if not taken.
And on a new document called staff orientation guide which was just updated today
Time-Off Requests/Vacation & Sick Hours (Balances)
All time off should be approved by your immediate supervisor in writing. You can pick up a Time-Off Request Form from the Administrative Staff, a copy is also posted on the shared drive at Z:Builders of HopeEmployee Folders . Once the form has been completed and approved by your supervisor, submit it to Human Resources.
Vacation & Sick Hours (Balances)
The Human Resources Staff keeps a running log of your Vacation & Sick Hours. Balances are disclosed at your request. Check with Human Resources for the amount of vacation & sick you are allotted.
I’m not looking for a battle with HR and if they erfuse to pay it out I probably won’t pursue it but if I’m truly entitled to it I’d like to at least question it. Does anybody have any experience with this?
Post # 3
I’m not HR but I’ve never heard of a company not paying out vacation time that an employee has earned. That is partly why many companies put limits on how much time you can accrue/roll-over.
Post # 4
I’ve always been paid out for my vacations, quitting or been fired.
I think you’re in the right to expect it, and you’ve probably burned that bridge anyway so I would press them for it.
Post # 5
I’ve never heard of it either. I’m not ready to question it just yet, but it looks like I’m going to have to question it.
Post # 6
@sit1010: I am not HR either, but I’ve always thought that you would be compensated for unused vacation/sick time when you leave a company.
Post # 7
I know for a fact that you aren’t compensated for sick time.
And I know that companies aren’t required to provide paid vacation time for their employees. But I’m pretty sure that the ones that do provide it are required to pay it out.
Post # 8
@sit1010: It goes by state labor laws. I have never been paid out vacation time because (from what I understand) NYS law states (loosely) vacation time is at the digression of the employer and is NOT mandated by law. You can see if they’ll pay but don’t be surprised if they don’t.
Whenever I leave a job, I try to ask for 3 weeks to put in my notice. That way I can come down with a nasty stomach flu or something and use up my time.
Post # 9
NC state law also states vacation time is at the discretion of the employer *but* if they do provide vacation time it must be paid out at termination. I just don’t know if voluntary separation is included under termination or if they consider termination to be only if my employer lets me go.
Post # 10
I am in HR, but in Canada, so this isn’t my area of expertise.
However, the language in the law seems pretty clear to me. To me it looks like they need to pay it out, because it was part of your agreement with them that this earned vacation is a part of your compensation. They could get out of this if they had a well written policy in place, but it looks like they don’t.
It also just seems like good business to me. Otherwise you are going to have all of your employees taking time off to use up their vacation before handing in their resignations. Why would they want to create that incentive?
Terminated should apply to quitting or being fired, both area a termination of the employment relationship.
Post # 11
thanks for the information, looks like I’m going to have to follow up. Sigh, now to figure out how best to phrase it.
Post # 12
No, you are not entitled to be paid out your vacation pay.
“Vacation-leave not taken in calendar year will be lost if not taken.” That is the policy. That IS the forfeiture clause. They have written it out. You use it or lose it.
Post # 13
That just means there isn’t a rollover of unused vacation between calendar years. Any vacation time the OP has accrued this calendar year will be paid out.
OP: termination is termination – doesn’t matter if you quit or are fired. Unless you specifically signed something that stated unused vacation wouldn’t get paid out, you’re in the clear.
Post # 14
I can see why you would interpret it that way, I’m glad you brought it up because that may be what they use as their “forfeiture-clause” but I think it has to specifically address termination.
Thanks for the clarification. That’s how I interpreted it. I had DH check his employee manual and they do specifically address it in matters of termination so I think it’s just missing in my company’s employee manual. Thanks for your help!
Post # 15
It looks like your policy says nothing about paying it out,m therefore you don’t get any paid out.
Also, it says “Vacation-leave not taken in calendar year will be lost if not taken.” Therefore, the most vacation you can have is what you accrued this CY. Anything unused from previous years has not rolled over, so they won’t pay that out obviously.
Termination is generally defined as both voluntary and involuntary separation.
ETA – Acutally on reading the state policy on it, I’d ask about it. It does sound like from that your employer would have eto pay it out since they offer it. Your employers policies are unclear. They’ll likely just pay it out if you bring it up, rather than want to deal with a potential law suit.
Post # 16
Don’t know about NC, but I know when my husband left his last job his unpaid vacation time was paid out (NY). I would look into it.