Paid time off including holidays and vacations is not a right, but a benefit. Employers are not required to provide vacation time. They are, however, required to treat all employees in the same classification equally. That means, if the person sitting next to you, doing the same job you're doing with the same classification that you have, gets vacation time, by law your employer has to give it to you as well.
Be aware of what vacation time your employer does offer and what restrictions they may place on it. Permissible restrictions include:
- Designated times when vacation may be taken.
- Amount of notice that must be given before you take vacation time.
- How much vacation time you may accrue or save up without losing it.
Employers may restrict vacation time so that it only is offered to certain classes of employees such as full-time, regular employees. Employees who work as temps can rarely expect paid vacation time. As long as treatment is consistent for all employees in a certain classification, the employer is within its rights to make such restrictions.
Just as it is important to know your employer's policy for vacation time when you first sign for a new job, it is also important to know your rights when leaving a company. If your employer does give you paid holidays and vacation time, check to see if your state has a law requiring the unused time to be paid upon termination. Some states require this and others don't.
Questions for Your Attorney
- Ask your attorney what to do if you feel you are being discriminated against in terms of vacation time received.
- Ask your attorney if your state has laws requiring payment for unused vacation time.