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RGMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 15582
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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Can an employer take back a bonus that was given as a conversion

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Can an employer take back a bonus that was given as a conversion of vacation time that was not used?
Under Virginia law, accrued but unused vacation time does not have to be paid by the employer to the employee if the employee leaves, is laid off or terminated. This is not a merit bonus, but rather merely a conversion of vacation time to real dollars. Unless there is a company policy that states that you have a right to accrued but unused vacation time, the employer is under no obligation to give it to you, and the letter that you signed (while possibly out of line) was most likely legal and binding.

I know that this is probably not what you want to hear, but it's the law. I hope that it clears things up anyway. Good luck to you!
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Do other companies do this as a matter of course? I have never heard of it and have been in the business now for 10.5 years.
Different companies have a variety of different policies. I have heard about companies that require that vacation benefits are given up (in states where the default is that they are not) and this is legal. I've also heard about signing bonuses, with the proviso that the person stay at least a year (or some period of time), otherwise they forfeit the bonus. This certainly happens, and most of the time it is legal. It depends on the state where it happens and the actual contracts / documents involved, but generally speaking they are upheld.

I hope that helps. Good luck to you!

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