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Vacation Time for California Employees

Updated: Apr 10

As COVID19 restrictions have eased over the last few months, more and more people are venturing out on vacation. Employers now have to deal with requests for vacation time, something they may need a refresher on. Employees need to understand their rights and what vacation time means concerning their time off.

Vacation Time Isn’t Required

While California has many laws to protect employees with regard to paid time off, there is no requirement that employers provide employees with vacation time. In fact, employers are actually able to exclude certain employees from vacation policies completely. For example, if you are a part-time or temporary employee, you may not have vacation time, while a full-time employee would. Many employers have included which classifications of employees are entitled to vacation time within their employee handbook.

Vacation Time Is Equal to Wages

When you earn vacation time as an employee, it is considered the same as wages. It is accrued as it is earned, and under California law, it cannot be forfeited. That means, when an employee is fired or laid off, the employer must pay all unused vacation pay at the employee’s wage rate at the time of termination. It is important to note that sick leave is not paid out when an employee leaves. However, if your employer has a policy that combines Paid Time Off (PTO) and sick leave together, that will be required to be paid when an employee leaves.

When to Take Vacation?

An employer is allowed to place a cap on earned vacation time. That means, once an employee reaches a cap, they must use the time before acquiring more. Court precedent has held that any policy that requires an employee to take all vacation days within the same year earned is inherently unfair. So, you should be free to take your earned vacation days once you have them, or you can wait until another time. However, it is important to note that employers do have the right to reasonably manage when, how much time an employee can take, and how much notice is required before approving vacation.

If you believe your employer is not following California law regarding your vacation time or paid off, contact Gomerman | Bourn & Associates Call 415 545 8608 today for a FREE consultation.

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