What to do if I was fired about 3 years ago from my job and my former employer won’t pay me my vacation hours?

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What to do if I was fired about 3 years ago from my job and my former employer won’t pay me my vacation hours?

Asked on April 20, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The law does not itself provide that employees must be paid vacation pay on termination. Whether they are paid or not depends on--

1) If they had an employment contract (including union agreement) stating they would be paid unused vacation pay on termination; or

2) In the absence of an employment contract, if the employer's voluntarily adopted policy was to pay vacation hours on termination, the employer must pay such hours out, at least until the employer announces or provides notice of a change in the policy. (That is, if the policy when you were terminated was that you should have been paid, you should have been paid.)

If 1) or 2) above was the case, you should have been paid; if not, you could sue your employer for the vacation pay. Unfortunately, suing is the only way to get the money if the employer will not pay voluntarily, so depending on how much money is at stake, it may or may not be worthwhile doing this.

If 1) or 2) were not the case--no employment contract guarantying you vacation pay; no policy at the employer of paying vacation hours on termination--the employer did not need to pay you, and you would have no legal cause of action.


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