Although not required to do so, California employers often provide vacation benefits to their employees. Under California wage and hour laws, vacation time is considered a wage. Therefore, once vacation time is earned, it may not be taken away or considered to have been forfeited by a California employee. When employment ends, vacation benefits must be paid out in the employee’s final paycheck.
Benefit programs sometimes call for vacation time to be awarded on a “use it or lose it” basis. Under a “use it or lose it” policy, employees are required to use their vacation benefits within a certain amount of time, typically a year, or else forfeit or lose their earned vacation benefits. Under California wage and hour laws, however, “use it or lose it” policies are illegal. Personal and holiday days are similarly treated and typically may not be awarded on a “use it or lose it basis” either. There are limited exceptions to California’s restriction of “use it or lose it” vacation time policies, including when an employer legally establishes a plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) for the payment of employee vacation benefits. Often times, however, employers fail to properly set up a payment plan under ERISA, which also can result in the illegal denial of payment of California employee vacation benefits. A vacation compensation lawyer can assist you in determining if you have been wrongfully denied such compensation.
If you believe you have been denied vacation, paid time off, or sick days, which you have earned, and would like more information about your vacation benefits, contact us to speak to an experienced California vacation time lawyer. A lawyer at Glynn Law Group can help you understand your rights to vacation benefits and whether you have been harmed as a result of your employer taking back your earned vacation pay. Glynn Law Group offers a free, confidential discussion with a lawyer experienced with vacation benefits and available to assess any potential claim you may have.