What should I do if this summer I went for vacation for which I had 120 hours but when i came back my employer refused to pay me for 40 of those hours?

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What should I do if this summer I went for vacation for which I had 120 hours but when i came back my employer refused to pay me for 40 of those hours?

I been working in a company for five years. This summer I went for vacation because I had 120 hours save. When I came back I was expecting them to pay me the 120 hours but to my surprise they are refusing to pay me 40 hours of my work earned. What should I do in this case? Can someone be generous and help me out with this please? I have no idea what to do?

Asked on July 27, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The frst issue is whether or not you fact actually had 120 hoursof vacation at that time. If you did, you should have been paid, barring the issues below. However, some employers do not make vacation and other PTO hours perpetual--they expire over time ("use it or lose it"), so one possibility is that 40 of your hours expired. Another possibility is that you calculated your hours incorrectly and simply did not have as many as you thought. That said, normally, if you had the hours you should be paid for them.

That brings up the second issue--even if you had the hours, you would not be paid for them if:

  • How you used them violated general company policy--for example, no one can take more than 80 hours at a time, or 80 hours in a year, etc.
  • You did not get some necessary prior approval for the hours--for example, you told your employer you would take 2 weeks (80 hours) but actually took 3 (120 hours); if you didn't get proper approval, they would not have to pay you.

Third issue: are you trying to be paid for more hours than you actually took  vacation time? For example, say your regualar shift and base pay is based on 40 hours per week (9 to 5, five days a week). If you were gone for two weeks, they'd only have to pay you for 80 hours. Even if you frequently work overtime, evenings, weekends, etc., the employer only pays vacation time based on your normal, non-overtime schedule.

If you still believe you were entitled to another 40 hours of pay and did not receive it, your option is to sue your employer for the money. You would have to prove in court that you had the hours, were entitled to sue them, and were not paid.


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