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Does an employer owe me my accrued vacation pay after I quit? What if I don't give a full 2 weeks notice?

Portland, OR |

Owes accrued vacation from the 2011 calendar year.

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Attorney answers 1

Posted

In Oregon, vacation pay is not a statutory right; your entitlement to it is considered to be contractual, meaning that the employer may define how it is accrued, how it may be used, how--or whether--it may be carried over into subsequent years, and whether it is owed upon termination. This means that you must look to the employer's stated policies for your answer. If the employer does not have a clearly stated policy to the contrary that is published to employees, vacation pay that is accrued must be paid as wages upon termination of employment. Willful failure to pay such wages when due at termination may subject the employer to penalty wages. You should contact a lawyer about how to handle this to maximize your potential recovery of penalty wages under the recently amended statute.

Asker

Posted

Thank you! Is an employee handbook considered a "binding contract" or "policy"?

Scott T Cliff

Scott T Cliff

Posted

Virtually all well-drafted employee handbooks contain very clear disclaimers that they are NOT contractually binding on the company. However, where vacation pay is concerned, courts and agencies will look to stated policies and course of conduct for clarification. If the employer has stated an entitlement to a certain amount of vacation pay and has acknowledged its accrual in some fashion without clearly stating that such pay is not paid at termination, such pay is owed at termination. The Bureau of Labor & Industries ("BOLI") answers the question this way: "Vacation pay, holiday pay, bonuses, sick leave and severance pay are examples of wage agreements which may be made between employers and employees as a part of the employee´s total compensation. There is no requirement to offer these benefits. Your employer is, however, required to honor any established policy or agreement relating to the payment of benefits such as accrued vacation or severance pay upon termination. If you qualify for payment of benefits under the employer´s policy, you should be paid for these upon termination." (see FAQ's at http://www.oregon.gov/BOLI/TA/T_FAQ_Holidaypay.shtml I hope that helps. Feel free to call for further assistance.

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