In California, once an employee earns a vacation day, that vacation day cannot be taken away from the employee without compensation. Even when an employee quits or is fired, all unused vacation days must be paid out to the employee.
However, an employer can set a cap on the number of vacation days that an employee may earn. An employer can also reset the number of vacation days that the employee has earned, for example on an annual basis, so long as the employee is paid out for any unused vacation days.
But the bottom line is that once a vacation day is earned by an employee, he or she must be allowed to either take that vacation day or must be paid an equivalent amount in wages. An employer cannot take away vacation days that have already been earned due to poor performance, write-ups, or even termination.
While vacation days are not mandated by law, sick days most certainly are. California employers are required to provide at least three paid sick days per year to their employees. An employer cannot have a policy whereby all sick days are unpaid. This requirement applies to both salaried and hourly employees. An employer cannot penalize or reprimand an employee for taking a paid sick day.
Unlike vacation days, however, employees are not entitled to be paid out for any unused sick days when they separate from their employer. If an employer rolls vacation days and sick days into one, labeling both as paid time off, or PTO, then an employee is entitled to be paid out for all of their unused PTO once they stop working for their employer.
KLF's employment attorneys work with you to determine whether you are owed pay for unused vacation days or whether you were denied pay for sick days. If your rights have been violated, your employer may owe you compensation. We negotiate on your behalf and file a lawsuit as necessary. If we find that your employer also has violated the rights of your coworkers, we may be able to help them, too.
Contact us regardless of whether or not you are confident that your employer broke the law. And it does not matter if your employer broke the law on purpose or not — the law requires that you receive certain time off or payment for time off that you didn't use. Based in Glendale, we represent employees in the Los Angeles area and throughout California. All consultations are free and confidential.
If you would like to discuss a vacation or sick time matter, we encourage you to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the firm at (818) 221-2800. If your employment rights have been violated, we can help. All consultations are free and confidential.