Vacation pay owed

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Vacation pay owed

I have a contract stipulating a vacation of 3 weeks. Last year, I realized that I was being paid only 4 on my gross instead of 6 which is required in order to cover the 3 weeks. My employer fixed it and back paid me through 2 years ago and a little bit into the following year, however I began working for them 7 years ago. Since then, I’ve determined that my employer owes me nearly $4000 in unpaid

vacation pay I took the vacation time each year and did not realize that the pay was incorrect. If my employer attempts to block this, I intend to sue them and am wondering if I could make an argument that the money they failed to pay would have earned interest over the 7 years and add that to the claim.

Asked on December 6, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) You cannot get pre-judgment (before you win the lawsuit) interest unless the contract you refer to specifically says you'd get pre-judgment interest in the event of litigation. Otherwise, the law holds you to only suing for the exact amount, not including interest. (Look at this way: you don't know what would have happened with the money. Maybe you'd have made interest; maybe you'd have invested it in something which lost money, or spent it on a new TV or refrigerator, etc. Since it is impossible to know what would have happened, the law does not give you interest.) After you sue, if you win and they don't pay when required, when you go to collections, you can interest from after the judgment in your favor forward.
2) A contract in your state is only enforceable for 6 years (that is, there is a six-year statute of limitations for contract-based lawsuits). That means you can only go back up to 6 years in time for any lawsuit.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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