indicates that your rights depend on the employer's policy and any written employment agreement you have.
An employer is NOT required to give workers paid holiday, vacation, sick or bereavement leave.
Paid leave for holidays, vacation, sickness or bereavement following the death of a close family member are considered “benefits” that may be paid by the business under a policy, written agreement, personal contract, oral agreement, collective bargaining agreement or other form of agreement. There are no state laws requiring that such benefits be given. If the business agrees to give these benefits and then does not do so, workers may sue the business in a private legal suit in small claims court or through a private attorney. L&I does not enforce these agreements.
The federal Family Medical and Leave Act (FMLA) permits workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. To qualify, the worker must have worked at least 12 months for the employer for a total of at least 1,250 hours and the employer must have 50 or more employees.
This unpaid leave can be used to:
- Care for a newborn, newly adopted or foster child,
- Recover from the employee's own serious illness, or
- Care for a child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition.
An employer may deny an employee the use of their paid sick leave while caring for a sick family member under this law.
If there is no clear policy in the employment agreement and company manuals, and if you asked for a day off under FMLA, then I believe it was improper to force you to take a paid vacation on a day you wanted to take an unpaid sick day.
You can get a free consultation from some of the Washington employment attorneys listed by location athttp://lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/practicestate/Labor-Law/Washington
I urge you to have a local attorney review the employment agreement and company policies to advise you on this.
I hope this information is helpful.