Is is legal to force an employee to use vacation days as sick days or do we have a choice to not get paid?

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Is is legal to force an employee to use vacation days as sick days or do we have a choice to not get paid?

Asked on February 10, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all, the majority of employment arrangements are "at will".  This means that an employer can hire or fire someone for any reason or no reason.  It can also increase/decrease salary/hours, promote/demote, and generally impose requirements as it sees fit.  Absent something in the nature of an employment agreement, or a union contract, or a stated company policy this holds true.  Although if this action was the result of some form of workplace discrimination, you may have a claim. (or if some type of discrimination is a factor).

More specifically, while employees generally see vacation as an automatic condition of employment that can use as they see fit, the law doesn't see it this way.  The fact is that vacations are not legally required; they are given at the discretion of an employer.  In other words, it is a voluntary benefit and as such the employer can design it any way it chooses.  This includes when and whether to allow an employee to take this time, or mandating when such time must be taken.


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