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N Cal Attorney
N Cal Attorney, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 9389
Experience:  Since 1983
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can my employer use my vacation without my authorization to

Resolved Question:

can my employer use my vacation without my authorization to cover a sick day. i do not accure sick time
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 7 years ago.
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 at

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.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
well in our policy or it says that only with our written request can we use a vacation day to cover the sick absence. so my i guess i am assuming the can change the ploicy to whatever they want. I thought by law they do not have the right to determine how we can use our vacation with our consent.
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 7 years ago.
It sounds like they are violating their own policy, and they cannot change the policy without prior notice.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
so then they can change it, but cannot start using our leave until the new policy is posted.
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 7 years ago.
Yes any change in the conditions of employment or compensation cannot be made retroactively.

An employer can lower your pay, but not for hours already worked. An employer can change their policy about vacation days, but cannot do it without prior notice.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
k sounds like they are able to do this, it just sounds wierd since this is my vacation time a nd i should be able to use it when i want not when they want to cover a day i take off for being sick
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 7 years ago.
I agree, especially if your job is subject to the FMLA, you had the right to take off an unpaid sick day and not be forced to use a vacation day.
N Cal Attorney and 5 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 7 years ago.
Thank you for accepting my answer.