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Sick and vacation time can raise issues with unpaid wages

California employers do not have to offer vacation time, or, for that matter, flexible paid time off, to their employees at all. However, if they do choose to offer vacation time, then the benefit must comply with California's laws.

The basic point of these laws is that vacation time is considered a wage, which means that once an employee earns it, he or she is entitled to keep it. In other words, the employer must either allow the employee to use the vacation time for its intended purpose or must pay out the vacation time in the form of payment.

Likewise, since vacation time is considered an earned wage, an employer generally will have to offer it on a pro rata basis. To give an example, if an employee is eligible to earn 10 days of vacation for an entire year of work, she should get 5 days of earned vacation once she has worked for 6 months out of the year.

Sometimes, questions about vacation time and wages can get complicated. Detailed issues should be directed to an attorney experienced in employment law.

Likewise, sick time can be complicated as it works a bit differently than vacation time. Employers do not have to pay out accrued but unused sick time. It can be offered on a use it or lose it basis. However, there are certain rules that do apply to paid sick time, and employees in this state are often legally entitled to have at least some paid sick time available to them.

Oftentimes, employers do either mistakenly or intentionally deprive workers in the Los Angeles of sick and vacation time, or other paid time off, to which workers have every right. In these situations, workers may be able to pursue claims for unpaid wages.


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