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Do Employers Have to Pay Out Vacation Time in California?

Posted on August 25, 2023 in Unpaid Wages

Paid vacation is an enticing job benefit for any potential employee in San Diego. If an employer has established a paid vacation policy, meeting specific requirements ensures employees receive a payout for vacation time.

Paid vacations are part of an earnings package, and each employee is entitled to the wage agreed upon during hiring. A dedicated San Diego unpaid wages attorney can help you understand employment laws and how they apply to your earnings compensation in San Diego.

Employer Vacation Policies

California law does not require a company to provide paid or unpaid vacation time. However, many employers offer these benefits to attract a talented labor force. Below, we discuss the obligation of employers and vacation time payout.

Pay Out at the End of a Calendar Year

Companies can prevent employees from earning over a certain amount of vacation time by placing a cap on hours, only allowing them to begin accruing vacation time again once the hours drop below a certain amount. This legal provision is allowed by law.

However, at the end of a calendar year, an employer cannot claim your accrued vacation time if you have unused hours. When each employee is required to begin a new accrual period at the beginning of the calendar year, an employer must pay out the unused vacation time, and failure to do so is against California labor laws. Speak with a San Diego employment litigation attorney about fair compensation for your vacation time.

Additionally, some employers may allow employees to cash out unused vacation days at set times each year. This policy will depend on your company’s vacation cash-out procedures but should be defined in your employer’s vacation policy procedures. Use-it or lose-it practices are against California law.

Pay Out When You Leave a Job

When an employee leaves a job for any reason, an employer must compensate the employee for unused paid time off. Your vacation time falls under this category. This law applies for any of the following reasons:

  • Termination
  • Lay off
  • Resignation
  • Quitting

The payout for your unused paid time off must be compensated in your final paycheck. Leaving your job by resignation or termination with at least 72-hour notice requires that you receive pay immediately. And if an employee does not give 72-hour notice before leaving their position, an employer has 72 hours to issue a final paycheck.

Pay Out Deadline Penalties

When an employer fails to meet the deadlines for payout, California Labor Code Section 202 also requires the employer to pay a waiting time penalty that is equal to the number of days that have passed between the date an employee was required to be paid by law and the date they were actually paid. The law recognizes the day you receive final wages, not the postmarked date on the mailed paycheck. Exceptions to these laws may be established by a collective bargaining agreement if you are part of a labor union.

Discuss Your Vacation Time Pay Out With a San Diego Unpaid Wages Attorney

Vacation time is part of the compensation package you earned as an employee, and employers must pay you for the vacation time you have accrued. Speak with a trusted San Diiego unpaid wages attorney today to discuss your rights as an employee and fair compensation.

The employment litigation attorneys at Walker Law focus on helping San Diego employees receive fair treatment and compensation for unpaid wages in California. A free, confidential consultation allows us to start the process of reclaiming your employee compensation today.

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