Vacation time payout

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Vacation time payout

Was fired for theft, no charges pressed. Can the employer refuse to pay out
earned vacation time? Even if their employee handbook states ‘When
employment ends for any reason, vacation time earned but not taken by the
employee will be included in the employee’s final paycheck.’

Asked on February 15, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If there are no limitations or restrictions or caveats (see below) on the handbook language you cite, they should pay out the vacation days: the quoted language appears to establish a policy and therefore an agreement (between you and the employer, pursuant to which you worked, since you worked in knowledge of and based on what the handbook says) of paying out unused vacation when employment ends regardless of why it ends.
But many handbooks do contain limitations within them on their power to form enforceable agreements or policies. If the handbook contains anything like the following, it does not in fact create any enforceable rights:
"Nothing in this handbook creates a contract of employment"
"Policies are subject to change at will"
"Anything to the contrary in this handbook notwithstanding, all employment is employment at will"


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