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Can an employer not give me my vacation pay after being terminated in NY?

New York, NY |

I recently was terminated from my job due to the recession. In my employment contract it states that I receive 15 days of paid holiday after 1 year of employment. I never took a vacation so I was wondering if I am owed vacation pay in the state of NY. The contract doesn't state anything about vacation pay upon termination nor did it refuse it.

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Attorney answers 1


Under New York law, an employee has a right to receive payment for accrued, unused vacation time that has vested in the employee. The amount of accrued vacation benefits depends on the company's employment handbook, read together with the employee's individual employment contract. Note, some companies have a "use it or lose it" written rule.

If, as of the date of job termination, there remains a balance of unused, accrued vacation days that is not subject to a "use it or lose it" rule, then the employee has a vested right in his or her vacation benefit.

In this instance, if the employee worked at least one year prior to the job termination date, then the employer should remit payment to the employee for any and all accrued, unused vacation benefits that are vested in the employee.