Can a company force you to take vacation days?

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Can a company force you to take vacation days?

I work on a site in CT that is open 24×7. We were sent the following mandates: “The field is required to take four vacation days and/or floating holidays during October/November to cover the Thanksgiving shutdown period. **Massachusetts – Three vacation days are required to cover the shut down period. The field is required to take four vacation days and/or floating holidays during December/January to cover the Christmas shutdown period. **Massachusetts – One Vacation day is required to cover the shut down period.” In CT can they force us to take the 8 days and why does MA only need to take 4?

Asked on August 4, 2011 Connecticut

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Actually, your employer can do this. The fact is that the majority of employment arrangements are "at will".  Thsi means that an employer can hire or fire someone for any reason or no reason at all. It also means that it can increase/decrease salary/hours, promote/demote, and generally impose requirements as it sees fit.  That is absent something in the nature of an employment agreement, or a union contract, or a stated company policy to the contrary (or if some type of discrimination is a factor).

More specifically, while employees generally see vacation as an automatic benefit that can be used as they see fit, the law doesn't see it this way.  The fact is that vacations are not legally mandated. So to the extent that an employer institutes such a policy it is a voluntary benefit which an employer can design any way it chooses.  This includes whether to allow an employee to take this time, and when they can/must take it (your situation).


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