What can be done if my nephew has been denied his accrued vacation?

He has been working 6 days a week for months and is becoming very tired and sick and just wants a few days off. He’s been paying off a loan to his employer.

Asked on October 22, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Minnesota

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that an employer is not required to provide its employees with vacation time, either paid or unpaid. However, if an employer chooses to provide such benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy, or with the terms of an employment contract, union agreement, etc.
That having been said, unless otherwise provided, since vacation time is a discretionary benefit given by an employer they have a great deal of control over when it can/cannot be taken. In fact, since most work relationships are "at will", a employer can set the terms and conditions of employment much as it sees fit. So unless there is an agreement governing the use of such time (as listed above) or the denial of vacation time is due to some form of actionable dscrimination or retaliation, an employer can deny permission for an employee to take their vacation time (although they would have to compenate the employee at such time as their employment ended).


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