How long is "temporary lay off" ?

Eight months ago the company I worked for 22 years put me in "temporary layoff". How long can "temporary layoff" last? By not laying me off permanently they avoided paying me severence pay as well as my accrued vacation saying that I will be able to take it "if" they call me back to work. They supposedly also went into Chapter 11 4 months ago, but I never received anything from the court. Can they legally do this or should I sue them? Should I see a labor lawyer or a bankrupcy lawyer? Can you recommend one in Long Island? Thank you.

1 answer  |  asked Mar 4, 2002 09:17 AM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
Temporary Layoffs

The law generally does not make a distinction between a permanent and temporary layoff. Thus, you should be able to get unemployment compensation.

An employer may make such a distinction, but whether you are entitled to severance will depend on how the employer gave you the severance. Generally, employers don't have to give you severance, and you have no right to it. If the employer does give it, then it might fall under ERISA. If it falls under ERISA, the employer has to be careful that all similarly situated employees get it on the same basis, and that it does not interfere with an employees right to receive it. A key in determining whether you have severance rights under ERISA is whether there is something in writing telling you when you are entitled to severance, and how to determine the amount of severance you are entitled to receive.

Any attorney that you may see about your situation will want to see the writing concerning severance.

Accrued vacation generally cannot be taken from you. One way or another, you should be able to get your vacation pay.

The complicating feature in all of this is the bankruptcy, if there is one.

As you can see, I am located on Long Island, so feel free to contact me.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Mar 4, 2002 10:59 AM [EST]

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