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Patrick, Esq.
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Category: California Employment Law
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When I started with this company, I was awarded 10 days vacation for the first 5 years, th

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When I started with this company, I was awarded 10 days vacation for the first 5 years, then I was awarded 15 days, later in my employment a memo came out stating if you had 20 years with the company, you received 25 days. I had to fill out a vacation request form, and get approval from my supervisor to use it. After our company was purchased, I was told verbally that I do not receive vacation time because I am on commission only. Yet every time I had to fill out a request form and get approvals. I have 83 days on the books by my records and really would like to know, should I just use them up before I retire at the end of the year, or do they in fact owe them to me since I was required to fill out the vacation request form and the original company did in fact give vacation to commissioned people.
I would really appreciate an answer so I know where I am..
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

Accrued vacation is due and payable upon an employee's termination or retirement. This is so because accrued vacation is regarded as a wage earned, and wages earned cannot be forfeited.

To this end, Labor Code Section 227.3 states as follows:

"Unless otherwise provided by a collective-bargaining
agreement, whenever a contract of employment or employer policy
provides for paid vacations, and an employee is terminated without
having taken off his vested vacation time, all vested vacation shall
be paid to him as wages at his final rate
in accordance with such
contract of employment or employer policy respecting eligibility or
time served; provided, however, that an employment contract or
employer policy shall not provide for forfeiture of vested vacation
time upon termination."

If there is a question as to whether you ever actually earned the vacation, that would be a separate dispute regarding the interpetation of your contract. However, if the days of vacation are on the company's own books, they can't then go and change the rules and somehow divest you of previously earned and accrued vacation. Once you earn it, it's a "wage," and once it's a "wage," it's yours.

If you have any questions or concerns whatsoever regarding my answer, please do not hesitate to ask for clarification.

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the very best of luck. Bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

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