Can my former employer demand I pay them for vacation time I used but had not yet accrued after they terminated me?

I have recently been terminated. I received my final pay in the full amount for the pay period. I was not paid for unused sick time exc.125 hours. I just received a letter that they are demanding that I pay them a monetary amount. For 12 hours of vacation time I had used in January that had not yet been accrued, as it was the beginning of the year. This vacation time request had been approved at the time of submittal in December. Am I legally obligated to pay them? Shouldn’t this have been

withheld from my final check if that was their policy?

Asked on March 10, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

1) If you effectively "borrowed" vacation time by asking for and getting vacation before you had actually earned or accrued it, it is like any other loan: you have to repay it. So yes, they can demand its repayment, and potentially sue you if you won't voluntarily repay.
2) The could not legally take it out of your final paycheck, unless there had been agreement prior to the final check that you would allow them to do this: the law does not let employer's unilaterally take money owed them by employees from final checks. Generally, employers must sue for amounts they believe their employees owe.


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