Employment condition changed=loss of all accrued vacation time?

I work for a small human services agency. Our Board of Directors recently voted to dissolve the agency, so I am now on app. 3 months notice.
I have almost 100 hours of unused vacation time accumulated over the last year. When a member of our board heard this, she stated she would put up a vote to the Board to no longer pay out vacation time accrued upon separation.
I understand the employment at will idea, and that employers can change the rules at any time. But up to this point, our policy book has stated that accrued vacation under 200 hours will be paid out. Can I be denied payment of all this time when I leave, or just the time after the rule is changed formally?
Many thanks!

1 answer  |  asked Jun 11, 2003 7:12 PM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
Vacation Time

Generally, in New York State, accummulated vacation time is yours, and you are entitled to payment of it when you are terminated. Employers, however, are able to place restrictions on how you accummulate time, and these rules can be changed. Thus, if you were to continue in this job, the employer would be entitled to impose a new "use-or-lose" policy requiring you to use your vacation time in the year you earn it. Or the employer could put caps on the amount of time you can accummulated. For example, your employer can legitimately prohibit you from accummulating more than 200 hours of time.

But, if you have already earned the time, it cannot be taken away from you.

Note that vacation time is treated differently than sick leave. You don't earn sick leave like you earn vacation time. When you are terminated, the employer has no obligation to pay out your accummulated sick leave. (Note that there may be an exception to this general rule for certain public employers.)

posted by David M. Lira  |  Jun 12, 2003 09:19 AM [EST]

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