Monetary compensation and accrued time off.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Monetary compensation and accrued time off.

During the course of the year I have accrued time off. Being short staffed throughout the majority of this year, it was not possible to use the 19 remaining hours and will not be possible during the rest of this year. My immediate supervisor requested that my remaining hours monetarily paid out to me. It was denied and I will lose them. Even though it benefited my company in every way, is this legal. regardless of written company policy?

Asked on October 27, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Use or lose it is legal IF you are given a chance to use the hours: you can't be denied the opportunity to use them and have them disappear, because then you are being deprived of compensation for which you worked, in breach of the contract or agreement (even if an unwritten or oral one) between you and the employer, pursuant to which you worked in exchange for certain pay and benefits (including vacation).
The key issue is: did you ask for vacation and were denied? Or did you never ask, because you were concerned about getting the work done. If you were denied a chance to use vacation, that would be illegal; if you never asked because you felt that you did not have the time, that was YOUR choice and you are not entitled to any compensation. The company is not responsible for your highly developed work ethic: even though it benefits them, they don't have to pay you for it, because you chose to leave compensation to which you are entitled (paid vacation) on the table, unused.
If you were denied a chance to use vacation, try contacting that state department of labor: they may be able to help you. If they do not or will not, you'd have to sue for the 19 hours worth of pay--obviously, it may not be economically worthwhile.

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