Written by attorney James Lee Fant

New Jersey Employment Law: Unused Vacation, Sick, and Personal Days

If you have lost your job, there are a host of legal issues that you may confront. A common issue is whether you are entitled to compensation for vacation, personal, or sick days that you may have accrued during your employment. As discussed in detail below, your right to compensation for unused days depends on the policy decisions of your employer, and the manner in which they communicated and applied those policies. This is a very tricky area of law. It is a common misconception that an employer is required to provide paid vacation, sick, or personal days or pay out accrued time once the employment relationship ends. In fact, New Jersey provides less protection than many other states. In New Jersey, there is no specific requirement that an employer offer paid vacation, sick, or personal days, permit an employee to “bank" days by rolling them over into the following year, or pay out unused vacation time once the employment relationship has ended. However, if an employer decides to implement a policy regarding “banking" or providing payment for unused days (or both), it cannot do so on a discriminatory basis––that is, applying the policy to some employees and not to others. To be sure, such a policy might be viewed as an “implied contract" between the employee and employer. If you feel that you may have a claim to be compensated for your unused vacation, sick, or personal days, it is important that you keep any correspondence or employee manuals that may have been given to you to determine whether you have enforceable rights. An experienced employment attorney will be able to assist you in making that determination.

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