Earned vacation pay after leaving the company

I left the company after 28 years. When I started in 1988 the policy
was to work the first year to earn vacation the next year. The newest
policy is earn as you go quarterly. So in 2015 I earned 4 weeks
vacation for 2016. HR quotes the handbook that I only earned 1 week
for the first quarter of 2016. Is it a lost cause?

Asked on April 25, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, a company can legally have you earn as you go, so changing to a quarterly accrual is legal.
More to the point, the law in your state does not require payout of unused vacation unless there is a written agreement or written policy in regards to payout. So if you don't have a contract requiring payout, or if the employee handlook or other source of written policies does not require payout of unused time, they don't have to pay you--of, if the choose to voluntarily pay something, can pay any amount they choose. (If there is a written contract or policy, however, they have to follow what it says and pay that amount.)

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