Is an employee required to pay me an accrued ‘sick pay balance’ after being terminated?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is an employee required to pay me an accrued ‘sick pay balance’ after being terminated?

I was recently terminated from my part-time job for which I was paid hourly. Once I sign their ‘Separation Agreement, I will be given 5 weeks severance pay plus any unused vacation hours from the previous year. I would not be paid any for any sick time I might earn this year, which is understandable. However, I have about 192 hours accrued in a ‘sick bank’ that I have earned over the 11 1/2 years I have been employed. I would have been able to use in case of a medical emergency. At the time of my termination, I asked the HR person if I would be entitled to that sick bank. She said she didn’t know but would check. I’ve not heard from her on this but I would like to get some legal advice before contacting her.
Thank you for any advice.
Evelyn Greene

Asked on January 24, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

There is no general right to be paid out for unused sick leave on termination of employment. Sick leave is different from vacation days: sick leave is intended for a specific purpose, to allow the employee to take time off from work while sick. If you are no longer working, you do not need sick leave from that job; hence, the law does not provide any right to used sick leave, unless you have a contract, union agreement, or at least a written policy from the employer (e.g. in an employment manual) guarantying you payment for unused sick leave on termination. If you do have this, you could enforce the terms of such agreement, etc. with a "breach of contract" lawsuit if necessary.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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