Can I use earned vacation time at the end of my employment instead of a lump sum payment?

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Can I use earned vacation time at the end of my employment instead of a lump sum payment?

I am separating from my current position and have asked to take my vacation time over the course of the next 6 weeks in order to extend my health insurance benefits. I will be working at the new employer during this time, but ineligible for health coverage. My current employer doesn’t want to allow this and is insisting on providing me a lump-sum payment of earned vacation time. Please advise.

Asked on June 11, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

There is no legal right to use your vacation time at the end of your employment to extend your employed time or eligibility for health insurance. Employers have the right to approve--or as the case may be, not approve--the use of vacation time and could refuse to allow you to do this. They don't need to give you a reason or justify their decision, though it is reasonable one: why should they allow you to be on their health insurance plan--and presumably, pay money to have you on their plan (since generally the employer pays at least a part of workplace health or medical insurance)--when you are no longer working for them and in fact are working for someone else? If they pay *any* part of the health insurance premium, what you are really asking is for them to subsidize 6 weeks of your employment by someone else, and to pay you the cost of their share of the insurance in addition to the value of your vacation days. It is reasonable for them to not want to do that.
Look into whether you can use COBRA (at your cost) to extend your health insurance until your new employer's plan kicks in.


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