Can my employer not pay vacation time accrued after being terminated?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can my employer not pay vacation time accrued after being terminated?

I was recently laid off and am trying to collect my last check owed to me. However, the individual who handles that aspect is claiming they will only pay out my vacation for this year. I have been employed with this company for about 21 months. In my contract it states,

Asked on February 8, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Fortunately for you, you work in California. Labor law does differ by state in many regards, and each job is covered by the labor law not of the corporate headquarters, but of where that job is located. So you would be under CA labor law. And California holds that earned and accrued vacation time is a form of wages, and so 1) cannot be taken away or forfeited (except that a reasonable cap on how many hours be accrued may be placed, but such a cap must be put in place in advance, before you hit or exceed that limit), and 2) must be paid out on termination of employment. Here's a link to a helpful webpage from the CA Division of Industrial Standards on the subject:

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