Can an employer take away an employee’s accrued paid vacation time?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an employer take away an employee’s accrued paid vacation time?

My employer has set a deadline for me to use or lose my accrued
vacation time, but is refusing to allow me to use it by the deadline
because he has no one available to cover my duties. Is this legal?

Asked on March 11, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It's not legal if they don't give you the opportunity to use the vacation time. Employers in your state are allowed to manage vacation time by requiring it to be used or lost, but they have to then allow you a reasonable chance to use it. If they don't let you use it, they are simply denying you something you worked for and earned, which is a breach of contract (a violation of the agreement between you and then, whether written or oral, pursuant to which you agreed to work in exchange for certain pay and benefits). Unfortunately, if they are determined to do this, the only way to enforce your rights would be by suing your employer, so you'd need to decide whether suing your employer is worthwhile.

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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