Can an employer using a bi-weekly pay period combine the2 weeks when considering eligibility for vacation pay?

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Can an employer using a bi-weekly pay period combine the2 weeks when considering eligibility for vacation pay?

For example if a full time employee takes a vacation day in week one of the pay period (working only 32 hours), can they refuse to pay that vacation day out if the employee works 48 hours in week two of the pay period?

Asked on November 18, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, no--this is not how it is generally understood that vacation pay or paid time off works. That said, IF what you write was the employer's policy, AND that policy was disclosed to you in advance, it might be legal--employers are not required to offer paid vacations at all, and since it is voluntarily for them to offer paid vacations, they may put restrictions or limitations on them. Employers have considerable latitude or discretion in determing the terms and conditions to enjoy vacation pay, so long as those terms or conditions are known to, and therefore implicitly agreed to by, employees in advance. I have never heard of an occasion where was a clearly articulated policy like this, however.

Note that if you are an hourly employee, you should have earned 8 hours of overtime in week two--employer policy cannot trump the labor laws, and the law says in no uncertain terms that any time a nonexempt employee (and essentially all people paid on an hourly basis are nonexempt) works more than 40 hours in a workweek, he or she must be paid overtime (time and half) for all hours worked past 40.


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