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  • Choosing Unpaid Time Off Instead of Using Vacation Time

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    September 10, 2019
    By Ellen Savage, J.D.

    My employee asked for a few days off for a vacation with her family but wants to take it unpaid rather than using the vacation time she has accrued. Can I require her to use her paid vacation time before taking unpaid time, or does she have the right to save her vacation time to use in the future?

    An employer may require an employee who is taking a vacation to use accrued paid vacation time rather than taking unpaid time off. Vacation pay is not required by law, although when it is offered, certain accrual and vesting rules do apply in California.

    However, no law specifies that employees have an absolute right to determine when they want to use their paid vacation. Therefore, you may require your employee to use her paid vacation in this instance rather than going unpaid and saving the paid vacation time for a later date.


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