Can I argue my refusal of accruals upon termination of employment?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I argue my refusal of accruals upon termination of employment?

Hello. I have just finished my
employment with my job of 6 years. Over
that time I have accrued 200 hours of
sick time, and 15 hours of personal
time. At 20 per hour, that makes for a
gross amount of 4300. I found out today
that I will not receive those accruals
because I hadn’t been with the company
for 10 years or more.
I believe I deserve the payout for these
hours. I’ve won awards and gone above
and beyond for the work I’ve done. I
read somewhere that I can legally argue
the company’s policy, and possibly get
the money I feel that I deserve. Is that
true? And if so how do I move forward?

Asked on June 27, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There is no right to be paid for accrued but unused sick time under your state's law. An employer only needs to pay out such accrued but unused sick time if they had a firm policy in place (or you had a written contract) guarantying the pay out. Since it is voluntary for the employer to have a policy of paying out sick time when employment ends, they can put any limitations or restrictions on it that they want--such as that they will only pay if you have been there 10 years or more. It does not matter if you "deserve" the pay, or went beyond the call of duty or won awards--all that is irrelevant. All that matters is the company's policy, and you are only entitled to what the policy gives you.
There is a right to accrued but unused vacation time, and arguably for the unpaid personal time if it was treated by your employer as equivalent to vacation. So you could possibly sue for payment for the 15 hours of personal time. Whether it is worth doing so, however, is a different story.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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