Can my employer just take my vacation time without paying me

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Can my employer just take my vacation time without paying me

My company paid for my health insurance
while I was out of work, I have them my
two weeks notice and they took all my
vacation time and sent me a Bill for
500. Can they take my vacation time,
and do I owe them anything on that
remaining amount they paid?

Asked on November 25, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, no: when you give notice, they cannot bill you for or otherwise expect compensation for benefits they paid for you, and they cannot debit your vacation time--though bear in mind, in your state, there is no legal obligation to pay you out for unused vacation time on termination of employment unless there was a written employment agreement or policy that they pay you the accrued but unused time; otherwise, in the absence of something in writing, you lose the unusued time on termination anyway.
However, you state that you were out of work: if you gave your notice either while still out on work or just came back to work long enough to give notice, then they may be able to bill you for the benefits they paid for: when a company pays for your benefits while out, it is with the understanding and implicit agreement that you will remain an employee and return to work--they would not have to pay for someone who'd told them before going out that he/she was not returning. Therefore, if from the facts it looks like you were not planning on returning, they may have a case that you obtained the benefits under false pretenses and are not entitled to them.


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