What are my rights to take my vacation time instead of unpaid time off?

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What are my rights to take my vacation time instead of unpaid time off?

My company announced yesterday that it will be closing at the end of the year. Today, they said that we can’t use any of our unused vacation time because they are going to pay it out with severance, however I’ve had vacation time for the end of the month approved since early this year. I was told that I can still take my planned and paid-for vacation but simply as days off rather than vacation time. I can’t afford to take a week off without pay but my trip is already paid for. Am I out that money anyway? It’s only 2 weeks away.

Asked on October 16, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Nebraska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

If they already approved it, as you indicate, then they are required to honor that committment. If not, you could sue them "promissory estoppel" for any losses (e.g. the travel/trip costs) you thereby incur. When someone makes a committment or promise to you, knowing that you will rely or act on it, and you do in fact rely or act on it, incur costs or something else to your detriment, the law can force them to honor their promise or to pay for the consequences. So you should have a legal case against them if they don't let you use (i.e. be paid for) the vacation they already approved.


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