How does unused vacation work when I quit?

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How does unused vacation work when I quit?

June 1st was my 3rd year anniversary at work. My employer told me that my vacation starts on my anniversary date. I gave him my notice recently and today was my last day. I reminded him to pay me my unused vacation days

but he said he doesn’t know if I had days and if I used my vacation last year. I told him yes but he told me it starts over June 1 and today is the 21st. He said,

Asked on June 21, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

In your state (California), you must be paid for accrued (earned) but unused vacation days you had when your employment ends.
Vacation is generally considered to accrue over time: you don't actually get all your yearly days at once on your anniversary date, since that is so subject to abuse: an employee could work one day past anniversay, then take his week or two or three of vacation, then quit, getting paid for weeks when he only actually worked one day, for example. You earn the vacation time pro rata over the year, so if you get 8 vacation days, for example, you earn one every month-and-half. Employers will often do employees the courtesy of letting them take/use days before earning them, but if the employee quits before earning the days they used, the employer can generally recover the money from them if it deems doing so worthwhile (e.g. if they think it's worth it to sue for the days the employee had used without earning). If you quite only 3 weeks after your anniversay date, you not yet have accrued any days or may only have had 1 day or so, which would not be worth your time to sue if if not paid.


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