deducting taken paid vacation from wages

I understand I am an "at will" employee. This is my second year working for the company. My manager has told me consistently throughout this year that I have two weeks of paid vacation. He has showed me the company spread sheet listing my accrued vacation for this year and this is in correlation with a Vacation Policy that is posted at the job. Now with a month remaining in the year he said that this was a mistake that the spread sheet and the Policy is wrong. After giving me the aforementioned reasonable expectation of receiving two weeks; Can the company take the vacation not yet taken and deduct the vacation already taken from my wages?

1 answer  |  asked Dec 3, 2003 11:26 PM [EST]  |  applies to Arizona

Answers (1)

Francis Fanning
Vacation is governed by company policy

To understand the answer to this question, you must keep in mind that the basic rule of law is that vacation is a form of compensation, and that the employer is obligated to pay the compensation agreed upon in return for work performed. So the question becomes "What was agreed upon?" When a policy is stated in writing and you work for the employer with the understanding that the policy says what it says, the company cannot unilaterally change the policy retroactively. Because you are an at will employee, the company can always change policies for the future, but once you have performed the work that entitles you to the vacation, it has been earned just like your paycheck. So the policy governs. If there is some misunderstanding about how the policy is interpreted, the company may have an argument to make, but it cannot simply say that the written policy is wrong. The spreadsheet is a different matter. If there is a clerical error in the spreadsheet, the company can probably go back and make the correction. You need to have an attorney review the written policy to advise you fully on your rights in this situation.

posted by Francis Fanning  |  Dec 4, 2003 12:14 PM [EST]

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