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Law Offices of Michael Tracy
"If the exemption doesn't fit, the employer must remit."

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FAQ - I want to take time off without pay so that I can save up my vacation. Can my employer force me to use the paid vacation time and not save it up?

Yes. An employer is always allowed to pay out vacation days or PTO (paid time off days). Vacation days and PTO days are wages that you have earned but have not been paid for yet. The law requires that these be paid out promptly upon your termination with the company. However, nothing in the law prohibits an employer from paying you these days early or at any other time. For instance, an employer is allowed to pay out all unused vacation at the end of the year. Of course, an employer is not allowed to have a "use it or lose it policy" for vacation. However, paying the vacation out is not a "lose it" policy.

Ultimately, if you want to "save" your vacation days, you can simply take the money the employer pays you for the days you want to take off without pay and put it in the bank. Then, when you take your big vacation, simply take the money out of the bank and "pay yourself" at that time. The result is the same as if the employer had allowed you to take unpaid vacation and allowed you to save up the days for a longer vacation..

FAQ - Can my employer force me to take vacation?

Yes. An employer can control when employees take their vacation. Just as an employer can deny a request to take vacation, an employer can require employees to take vacation at certain times and "force" employees to take vacation. This only applies to bona fide vacations. For instance, if your employers tells you "Take a one year vacation," this would be seen as a termination rather than as an actual vacation. If you do not have vacation pay and some portion of the vacation will be unpaid, you may be able to apply for unemployment during that period.

 

 

Overtime Updates
January 2017: New minimum wage laws and overtime exemptions
December 2016: New federal regulations for overtime create confusing issues for California workers
New Computer Professional Law wage increase Jan 01, 2015
August 2013: Unpaid internships are illegal.
April 2013: California's executive exemption defined.
California Labor and Employment Law Blog
Meal Break violations can extend back four years
Information Technology (IT) overtime.
VIDEO LINK: Michael Tracy discusses Liquidated Damages for Overtime (QuickTime 6MB)
©2016 Michael Tracy

This website only provides general information about the overtime laws in California and is not meant to be legal advice and does not serve to establish an attorney-client relationship. Please note that labor laws are constantly changing and being interpreted by the courts and you should consult with an attorney to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information. Any statements, on this page or elsewhere, are not guarantees of any outcome. Michael Tracy is a licensed attorney only in California.