Vacation Pay in New York
You may have started a new job, only to find out that it does not offer vacation pay to employees. Perhaps your employer does have a vacation policy in place but requires you to use it or lose it. Or maybe every time you try to take time off, your request is denied.
Sound familiar? These situations may seem unfair and maybe even illegal, but the truth is that employers are not even required to offer vacation time to employees. While most do as a way to attract new employees and offer work-life balance, a company cannot be punished for not doing so.
If a company does offer vacation time, it can regulate it however it wants. For example, the company can make you wait six months or one year before you can use your vacation time. It can use a PTO policy that combines your sick leave, vacation time and other time away from work as a single bucket. Your company may allow you to earn time off with every paycheck. Your company may allow you to roll over unused vacation time or institute a “use it or lose it” policy.
All of these situations are legal when it comes to vacation pay in New York. After all, there is no law forcing your company to give you vacation time in the first place. One thing companies cannot do is use vacation time to discriminate against or favor employees. While employees in certain positions may earn more or less vacation time, a company cannot award vacation time based on a person’s gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or other protected factor.
What Happens to Unused Vacation?
If your employer does offer vacation time, what happens when you don’t use it? For example, let’s say you have 40 hours accumulated and you decide to quit or you are laid off. Do you get paid for that time or do you lose it?
This depends on the state you live in, as well as your company’s policy. New York is one of 27 states that require employers to pay for accrued but unused vacation time. The only way you would not be paid for vacation time is if there is a company policy that specifically forfeits your right to receive vacation pay. Your employer must have informed you, in writing, of any conditions that make this benefit null and void. In the absence of such a policy, the employer is required to pay the employee for all accrued vacation time.
Contact a New York Wage Lawyer
As employees, it’s important that you receive the pay and vacation benefits you’re entitled to receive. It’s also important to know that you may not be entitled to receive vacation benefits, as unfair as it may seem.
If you have quit a job or have been laid off, and your employer has not paid you for accrued vacation time, seek legal help. The experienced New York wage lawyers at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. can assess your case and determine your rights to compensation from your employer. Schedule a consultation by contacting our firm at (347) 464-8694.