Do I lose my accumulated paid vacation time after I go part-time?

I have a question concerning vacation time. In our employee handbook it states
that an employee is eligible for 3 weeks of paid vacation time after working for
the company full-time for 10 years. I have been working for this company for 10
years and am eligible for this vacation time. However, I am starting nursing
school soon, and I am planning to go part-time. The question is do I lose my
accumulated paid vacation time?

Asked on January 5, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

In your state, any vacation time actually accrued/earned cannot be taken away: it is treated the same as wages you've earned, so just as if you earned wages, then cannot be taken away even if not yet paid out to you, so, too, you cannot lose vacation days once you have earned them.
However, except to the extent your accrual (how much you get) of vacation time is guaranteed by written contract, your employer may change the policy for how many days you earn or get in the future. So your employer may reduce how many weeks of vacation you will get once you go part-time, but any days you have earned so far, you may keep.


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