It’s customary for many companies to give their full-time employees paid time off, including vacation days. New York employers aren’t required to provide employees with paid vacation, but those that offer it must abide by their policies. If you have unpaid vacation days that your employer refuses to honor, it’s crucial that you understand your rights.
At Woods Lonergan, we understand how important paid vacation is to employees. Paid vacations are one of the most typical incentives New York employers offer full-time employees. We protect employee rights in unpaid vacation cases. If you know or suspect that your employer is stealing paid vacation time from you, we can help you fight to receive the compensation you deserve. Contact Woods Lonergan today to schedule an initial consultation and discuss your rights.
Do You Have the Right to Compensation for Unpaid Vacation?
New York employers are not required to offer paid vacation to employees under state, federal, or local law. In other words, no employment laws require employers to offer employees paid leave. However, once an employee has accepted an employment offer that includes paid vacation as an employment term, the employee is entitled to the paid vacation time.
When an employee signs an employment agreement, the agreement is usually a valid contract enforceable by law. When employers deny or remove a paid vacation in any form is the equivalent of an employer not paying an employee their agreed-upon salary.
Common Scenarios of Employees Denying Paid Vacation
The New York City employment attorneys at Woods Lonergan have seen businesses deceive employees into accepting the denial of their paid vacation time. Some of the most common ways employers violate employee’s paid vacation rights include the following:
- Making an employee take unpaid vacation
- Telling the employee they no longer have paid vacation time
- Putting an expiration on the employee’s vacation time
- Terminating an employee’s employment without compensating them for vacation time
How Our Employment Attorneys Can Fight for You
One of the first steps a business may take to save money or stop profit losses is to attempt to remove paid vacation perks they’ve guaranteed their employees. Many employers know that unpaid vacation time violates an employee’s rights. Nonetheless, employers try to find ways to confuse or exploit employees to deny paying for vacation days because it saves the company money. If your employer has unlawfully removed your paid vacation, you are entitled to recover the total value of your paid vacation time. You may be concerned that you will lose your job or face another form of retaliation if you speak out and attempt to resolve your unpaid vacation days.
Working with an employment attorney allows you to protect yourself and your rights. When experienced legal counsel represents employees, employers may be more likely to resolve the issue out of court. Our trial-ready attorneys know how to hold employers accountable for unpaid vacation time and wage violations.
When employers fail to pay you your unused vacation time, there is a good chance they’ve failed to pay other employees their vacation time. Employees who’ve been wrongly denied unpaid vacation time can pursue a civil claim against their employers. Claims for unpaid vacation time can be considered a class or collective action when multiple employees have suffered injuries.
Unpaid Vacation When an Employee Resigns or is Terminated
Does an employer have to pay its employee for accrued, unused paid time off (PTO) or vacation time in New York when an employee resigns or is terminated? It depends on the employer’s written employment policy or pattern of practice. Under New York Labor Law § 195.5, an employer must “notify his or her employees in writing or by publicly posting the employer’s policy on sick leave, vacation, personal leave, holidays, and hours.” Consequently, when a company agrees to provide full-time employees with paid time off or vacation time, they must make the employees aware of the benefits in writing.
Review the Employer’s Handbook Policy
Most companies in New York offer employees a written handbook with policies regarding paid vacation time. Most companies create an employee handbook that specifies whether employees are paid for an accrued vacation after quitting, or their employment is terminated. New York courts generally enforce the policy if an employer says they won’t pay employees for earned PTO or vacation.
Even if an employer has a written policy regarding unpaid vacation time upon termination, courts may also consider the employer’s pattern or practice of paying employees accrued unused vacation time after termination. For example, if the written policy states employers who are laid off or terminated aren’t entitled to unused vacation time, but the company has a history of paying unused accrued vacation time, the employer can be held liable for failing to make the payments for a particular employee.
What If My Employer Doesn’t Have a Written Policy?
Employers should carefully review their employer’s handbook policies regarding paid time off to determine whether your employer must pay unused accrued vacation time after you leave. If your employer doesn’t have a written policy, the company’s oral policy or past practices can be enforced. The New York Division of Labor Standards can investigate the employer’s policy.
Employers who violate New York Labor Law § 195.5 are subject to a civil penalty. In most cases, if an employee has earned unused vacation time and there isn’t a written policy stating that the employee forfeits unused time when leaving the company, the employer will have to pay the employee for the earned unused vacation time upon resignation or termination.
Discuss Your Case With an Experienced New York City Unpaid Vacation Attorney
If you have questions about your employment policy and want to understand your rights, we are here to help you. At Woods Lonergan, our employment attorneys have a proven track record of fighting for employees’ rights. Schedule a free initial consultation with Woods Lonergan today to learn more about how we can fight for you.
Woods Lonergan PLLC helps clients with unpaid leave and vacation matters throughout NYC including the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn.