Does severance pay include vacation and sick pay

I was terminated with 2 weeks severance pay. I had accurred 130 hrs. of PTO. is the PTO seperate from the severance pay? of that? Do they have to pay my vacation time and/or sick leave?

Asked on May 25, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, Nevada

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Absent an employment contract addressing the issue, contract severance pay may or may not include vacation and/or sick leave.

Even if it doesn't include it, in Nevada vacation pay and/or sick pay are not unconditionally vested.  In other words, absent an agreement to the contrary, it doesn't appear that they have to pay it to you.  While some states do recognize vacation pay as wages to be paid upon termination of services; some states do not.

Unfortunately, the Nevada wage  and hour statute, NRS 608.020 et seq., which requires an employer to provide earned, but unpaid, wages and compensation upon termination, fails to define “wages and compensation” either to include or exclude vacation pay.  Moreover, the Nevada Supreme Court has yet to decide the issue.  Nevertheless, in the “Frequently Asked Questions” section of its internet web page, the Office of the Labor Commissioner has stated: “Nevada requires payment only for time worked and does not require payment for vacation time [upon termination].  Civil action may be warranted in this case.”

Even though the Nevada Labor Commissioner may not enforce the wage and hour statute to require the payment of unused vacation time upon termination, the Nevada statute does not foreclose that possibility.  You could always try to pursue a claim for this in court.

Note:  As I stated above, if there is an employment contract then the terms of that control.  Even if there is not such a contract, check your employee manual for company policy on this or see if other employees in your situation received vacation/sick pay.

You may also want to speak with a Nevada attorney more versed in employment matters than I am.  Perhaps he/she will have some other ideas.


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