Can an employer just stopgiving vacation pay?

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Can an employer just stopgiving vacation pay?

I received vacation pay for at least 6 years while I worked for a company and they decided to stop giving it. Can they take it back without compensation?

Asked on November 5, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The  majority of employment arrangements are what is known as "at will".  This means that you can work for an employer or not, your choice.  In turn this also means that an employer can hire or fire someone for any reason or no reason whatsoever, as well has increase/decrease salary/hours, promote/demote, and generally impose requirements and revoke benefits as they see fit.  And this applies to vacation pay.  The reason is that vacation time, the same as sick time, is a discretionary benefit that may or may not be provided by an employer.  Therefore, an employer may control when and if it is taken. Or, as in your case, whether it is given at all.  Federal, and most state laws, do not regulate such time.  So absent a company policy, or an employment or union contract, or some form of discrimination, an "at will" employee can either accept these terms or work for someone else.  However, as to vacation that is already earned, since that is considered to be a part of your compensation, it cannot be taken away.  Only vacation pay going foreword may be taken.


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