Can my former employer demand I pay them for vacation time I used but had not yet accrued after they terminated me?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can my former employer demand I pay them for vacation time I used but had not yet accrued after they terminated me?

I have recently been terminated. I received my final pay in the full amount for the pay period. I was not paid for unused sick time exc.125 hours. I just received a letter that they are demanding that I pay them a monetary amount. For 12 hours of vacation time I had used in January that had not yet been accrued, as it was the beginning of the year. This vacation time request had been approved at the time of submittal in December. Am I legally obligated to pay them? Shouldn’t this have been

withheld from my final check if that was their policy?

Asked on March 10, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) If you effectively "borrowed" vacation time by asking for and getting vacation before you had actually earned or accrued it, it is like any other loan: you have to repay it. So yes, they can demand its repayment, and potentially sue you if you won't voluntarily repay.
2) The could not legally take it out of your final paycheck, unless there had been agreement prior to the final check that you would allow them to do this: the law does not let employer's unilaterally take money owed them by employees from final checks. Generally, employers must sue for amounts they believe their employees owe.

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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