Are employers required to pay out vacation time to employees who have resigned from their position?

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Are employers required to pay out vacation time to employees who have resigned from their position?

I worked for a little over 2 years for a contractor in KSwho was responsible for working with families whose children had been removed by social services. Over the 2 years and 1 month that I worked there I had 160 hours of vacation time in my “reserves,” and 184 vacation hours to use. I left my position for a position with the state. Am I entitled to compensation for the vacation hours that were granted to me during the time I was employed by this agency?

Asked on August 27, 2011 Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I believe that Kansas does not itself mandate that unused vacation time be paid  out on termination of employment. Therefore, the issue is--

1) If you had an employment contract, what did it say about vacation time? If there is a contract, its terms will control. Even if you don't have a formal "contract," if you have offer letters, emails, etc. describing your pay, benefits, etc., those might be enough to create an enforceable contract; if not, they may also show your company policy (see below).

2) If there is no contract, what is the policy of the employer? Employers may set their own policies about paying vacation time, but then need to follow them consistently, at least until they change those policies (and changes can't be retroactive). If there's an employee handbook, what does it say? If there is no employee handbook or other document setting out a vacation pay policy, what has the employer done for previous employees--that can be used to determine policy.


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