Vacation Pay Attorneys
When it comes to paid vacation time, no laws require any company to provide paid vacation pay for their employees. It is a voluntary policy that many employers in the private industry offer their full-time employees.
Because employers are not required by law to offer vacation benefits, there are no rules that dictate how much vacation time can be accrued in a given period. Employers have a great deal of legal leeway in this matter. Companies are free to determine the particulars of their vacation policy without any outside influence. Many employers will follow industry standards and employee expectations when developing an accrued vacation policy.
Employers are free to give as much or as little paid vacation as they desire, and they are also able to offer it to certain employees but not others. For example, full-time employees may receive paid vacation time but not part-time employees. An employment contract can also determine the rate of accrued vacation time, a reasonable cap on the amount of vacation pay that can be accrued, and rules concerning when the vacation time can be used throughout the year. Some employers encourage employees to use paid time off regularly.
How Can Employment Attorneys Help with Paid Vacation Time?
Vacation policies are usually included in an employment contract signed when an employee is first hired. These policies are typically reiterated in the employee handbook if one exists for the company. A policy concerning vacation pay will usually discuss vacation accrual, holiday pay, when vacation time can be used, and what happens with unused vacation time.
Unfortunately, many employment contracts can be very confusing, and employees may not be clear on the vacation pay policies before signing the contract. When it comes to policies regarding vacation pay, especially if that vacation time is considered a form of earned wages, it is critical that an employee fully understands the details of the contract.
Employment attorneys such as ours at J.P. Ward & Associates have experience with employment contracts. They are happy to help employees understand their rights related to paid time off and spent vacation hours.
When Might Employees Need the Legal Resources of an Employment Attorney?
There are a few situations where an employee may consider discussing their situation with an employment law firm such as J.P. Ward & Associates. These include: illegally discriminating when it comes to deciding who receives vacation pay, “use it or lose it” policies (in some states), and refusing to cash out unused vacation.
While there is plenty of leeway for employers when it comes to deciding who gets vacation pay, eligibility, and the amount offered, it is still illegal to discriminate against certain individuals based on protected characteristics such as race, religion, disability, or sexual orientation.
Secondly, the state law of certain states has made it illegal for companies to impose a “use it or lose it” policy when it comes to unused vacation. For some states, the vacation is paid time off and must be cashed out when an employee quits or is fired. Because of this, it is considered a form of earned wages, and any company that takes away unused vacation time may be committing wage theft.
Finally, in a situation where an employment contract specifically states that the employer will pay out unused vacation at the end of the employment relationship, they are contractually obligated to do so. If they refuse to pay out the vacation accrual, the employee may have a case against their former employer.
Contact Our Employment Lawyers to Discuss Your Unused Vacation Payments
Employment law, in general, can be very complex, and many rules and regulations govern certain aspects of employment. However, your employer’s vacation policy is usually not one of them. If you are an employee for a company that does provide paid vacation, but your employer is breaking their policy, you may have an employment law claim against that company.
When a company policy breaks state law or the employer chooses to act against their policy, the employees may claim. You must discuss your options with an experienced employment law firm such as J.P. Ward & Associates in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to find out if you may have a case against your employer.
At J.P. Ward & Associates, we pride ourselves on forming a solid attorney-client relationship and keeping our clients up-to-date on the progress of their claims. We have vast experience and knowledge dealing with companies who have been violating the rights of their employees or their established policy, and we are happy to stand up for you.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our skilled employment law attorneys.