What are my rights regarding vacations and getting paid?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What are my rights regarding vacations and getting paid?

I work 10 months a year for a school district. I have been for 7 years and I am the athletic trainer and have a different schedule than that of a teacher. I am resigning from my position and inquired about being paid for unused vacation time. I was informed by HR that vacation time was for 3 weeks and expressed that Christmas, and Winter/Spring vacations were my vacations. However, because of athletics occurring during that time I worked through all of those vacations. Do I not have the right to pick when/if I get to take my vacation? Shouldn’t I be compensated for them in addition to my salary?

Asked on August 24, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

In your state, if you earned or accrued vacation time and were not permitted to take that time, or simply never used the time, you must be paid the cash value of the unused time. So if you did not use vacation days and have them, you have to be paid for them now.
If you were required to work on a "vacation" day, then that was not a vacation day: by definition, an employee does not have to work on vacation (if they voluntarily choose to, that is one thing--but they can't be required to work). When required to work, it is a regular work day and is paid as such. 
Base on what you write, you may have a legal claim for unpaid vacation. You should contact your state department of labor and/or consult with a local employment law attorney.

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