Payment of benefits

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Payment of benefits

I left a union job and received a letter in the mail stating that my vacation hours, which added up to 32 hours, would be cashed out to me that day. However, a month has gone by with no corrections to this letter and no contact being made. I have been trying to get a hold of HR to see how those benefits were going to be cashed out. I was told yesterday that they would not be cashed out. It was said that, the letter I was sent was premature. However they made no corrections to this letter or any communication whatsoever to indicate a mistake was made in the weeks that followed. Are they in any way bound to the pay out since they told me so in writing?

Asked on July 25, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, the letter they sent you is not binding on them. To be binding, it must be more than just in writing: it must actually form a contract. To form a contract, each side must offer the other something of value, called "consideration": if one side does not receive consideration (something of value), there is no contract. In the letter you describe, you were not offering or giving them anything of value in exchange for them paying out your vacation; hence, they received no consideration; and them not receiving any consideration, there was no contract formed. A promise can be freely reneged upon or dishonored if it is not embodied in a contract, and this letter did not form a contract.

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