Obligation to pay accrued paid time off.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Obligation to pay accrued paid time off.

Obligation to pay accrued paid time off. My employers handbook states accrued time off will be paid upon leaving the company. I provided my 2 week notice and then my employer came back and requested me to stay longer than 2 weeks. They also stated they would not pay my accrued paid time off unless I agreed to stay for longer than the 2 week notice. I don’t think this is legal but want an opinion on that.

Asked on June 30, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It depends on how strong or definitive the obligation to pay accrued time off in the employee handbook is. Most handbooks contain limitations or caveats on their enforceability, such as terms or statements that--
"All employment is employment at will"
"Nothing in this handbook creates a contract of employment"
"Policies are subject to change at will"
Any such language in the employee handbook prevents it from creating an enforceable contract and, as a result, the employer is free to alter its policies and not pay accrued time off, or pay it only with conditions (like you staying longer at work), since in the absence of an enforceable written contract, all employment is "employment at will" (i.e. its terms or conditions are under the sole control of the  employer, and subject to change at employer will).
However, if the employee handbook does not have such limitations in it, but rather definitively states you will be paid your accrued time off, then it most likely constitutes a contract; as such, it can *not* be altered unilaterally (on its own) by your employer. Rather, they would be held to its terms and must pay you the accrued time off as per the handbook. If they do not, you could sue them for "breach of contract" to enforce its terms.

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