If a store director tells you that you are getting vacation pay after being fired, do you still get it?

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If a store director tells you that you are getting vacation pay after being fired, do you still get it?

After being fired I asked about vacation pay they told me I was going to receive it plus this years but I haven’t. I have witnesses to what they said. The store director is the one who fired me for ruffhousing off the clock.

Asked on November 1, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In WA, state law does not require employers to give paid vacations.  However,  when they are given, employees must be paid for earned vacation upon their termination.  This is true, whether or not the employee resigns or is fired. That having been said, an employer is permitted to set a policy, in writing, that employees will not be paid for earned vacation time upon termination.  The employee must agree to the policy, also in writing (this is typically done during the hiring process). In most cases, this policy is in the employee handbook.  Additionally, if there is there is a union contract or collective bargaining agreement that covers this, accrued vacation time may have to be paid. Finally, if an employer has a history of paying vacation time upon termination regardless of the company policy, then the company probably must pay this employee.  Also, withholding vacation pay from a protected group is illegal discrimination.

Bottom line, even though there is no state law requiring a business to pay these benefits upon termination, if the business promises workers these benefits and does not follow through, workers can contact an employment attorney, file in small claims court for their unpaid benefits, and/or contact the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.


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