Repayment of Vacation Pay requested by Employer

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Repayment of Vacation Pay requested by Employer

Recently resigned from employer work as Physician Assistant in private practice with two MD’s after giving 3 months notice. Ending date was 2/23/18. I am salaried without hourly rate with a contract that does not have PTO accrual statement. I have 15 days vacation yearly. I used 9 days of vacation from the start of the year to date of resignation, approved by the owners of company. I was granted and paid for those vacation days. Upon leaving, my office manager paid me for the final 6 unused vacation days. Now, over one month later, my former boss is telling me I have to pay that vacation pay back because I did not accrue the time. Is that legal? Do I have to repay?

Asked on April 3, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Even if there is no formal accrual statement, when you get a certain number of days per year, the law generally considers that you accrue them over time. With 15 days per year, you would be considered to accure 5 days every 4 months (a day-and-third per month). The law doesn't generally make them all come due at once unless there is a specific written agreement or policy that they do, since otherwise, it is subject to the obvious abuse (e.g. if you received all 15 days at the start of the year, could work Jan. 1; take from Jan. 2 to  Jan. 16 off; quite morning of Jan. 17--get paid for 16 days when you only worked one). So it is very likely that under the situation you describe, that you would *not* be considered to have accrued those additional days and therefore should not have been paid for them. Therefore, they can seek the return of the money.

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