What s the law regarding an employer’s request that employees use their vacation time as instructed?

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What s the law regarding an employer’s request that employees use their vacation time as instructed?

During the week of a hurricane, my place of employment was closed due to no power in the facility. Upon return to work we were notified through email that the company decided to pay us for the week of the 29 through the 2nd but they had asked that we repay them with 40 hours of vacation time and that if we did not have remaining vacation for this year that we could use our vacation time for next year. Many of us employees were very upset with this, so a company meeting was called. We were informed that the company had made this decission on our behalf and that they understood that by doing this they took away our ability to file for any unemployment benefits we may have been entitled to for being out.

Asked on November 13, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, this is legal. The law permits an employer to require employees to use their vacation time to cover either absences from work or shutdowns at work, even ones resulting from hurricanes or other natural disasters. Remember: employers do not even have to provide vacation; it would be legal for employers to *never* provide vacation. Since it is voluntary on the part of employers to provide vacation, the law provides them considerable latitude in setting (and changing) rules for how and when it must be used.


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