What is sufficient legal “guarantee/agreement” from an employer regarding paying owed vacation time when leaving a job?

UPDATED: May 17, 2011

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What is sufficient legal “guarantee/agreement” from an employer regarding paying owed vacation time when leaving a job?

My husband has resigned his job for a better one. This is his last week and he currently has 40 hours of vacation pay available/unused (as noted on his pay stub). We are located in FL where it is not specified in state law that the employer must offer or pay vacation time, but if there is an agreement/guarantee of vacation time, then they are obligated to pay. It is a very small company with no handbook. Is the 40 hours noted on the paycheck (and the previous vacations we have taken and been paid for the past 5 years with this company) proof enough to hold them liable?

Asked on May 17, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, the notation of how many hours your husband has accrued or accumulated is not enough to establish an obligation to pay this out; that notation is record keeping, but does not indicate whether the company pays it when an employee departs or not. You need more to establish the obligation.

If there is no employee handbook, you can look to past practice (if any): if other employees have left, were they paid their remaining vacation time? If other employees were paid out, that would be strong evidence of the company's policy; they could not arbitrarily change it, without having first provided some notice to staff of the change.

Option: should your husband simply use his 40 hours (or as much as possible) and take this last week off?

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