Am I entitled to accrued vacation pay upon termination?

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Am I entitled to accrued vacation pay upon termination?

I have 3 weeks of vacation accrued. My employer is refusing to pay the vacation pay upon termination. Am I entitled to vacation pay? In MA.

Asked on January 3, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The  key is whether your vacation pay was merely "accrued" or "accrued and earned". MA law requires that employers pay workers for all wages earned upon termination because earned vacation time is considered to be earned wages. That having been said however, vacation time that is accrued but not yet earned, is not owed to an employee.  And the fact is that some companies allow employees to “accrue” vacation before they have “earned” vacation.

By way of example:  An employee has accrued 5. 7 hours of vacation time in 80 days but company policy does not entitle an employee to use that vacation time until they have been employed for 90 days.  If the employee left the company's on day 81, they would not be entitled to any vacation time.  The reason - the vacation time while “accrued” was not “earned.”  However, if the employee left on day 91 then they would be entitled to the accrued vacation time since - it was both “accrued” and “earned.”  Therefore if you were entitled to take 2 weeks vacation on the day that you were terminated, then yes, you should be paid for that vacation time.  Otherwise, employees need not be paid for vacation time that they would not be entitled to use if they were still employed.

Note:  If you signed an employment contract/union agreement to the contrary that would control. 


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