Riverside, CA asked in Employment Law for California

Q: Am I entitled to unused vacation and sick time??

I took a leave of absence from work in December of last year (2022) due to a medical issue and I informed my employer I would not return to work due to that issue this year on February (2023). My company renews all vacation time and sick time on January of every year. Although I did not work a day of this year I was still an employee and wasn’t under any work contract. My health insurance was still active through my employer. Am I still entitled to be cashed out for those unused vacation hours??

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2 Lawyer Answers
Adam Stoddard
Adam Stoddard
  • Santa Clara, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: It depends. Some business provide for sick time and vacation time on an accrual basis. Meaning, you accrue maybe an hour or two per pay period. If you have not worked in January or February, you might not have accrued any vacation or sick time for this year. Alternatively, you may have only accrued a few hours of time for the 2023 year.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, the law states that employers are required to pay employees for any unused vacation time upon termination of employment, regardless of the reason for termination. This means that if you are terminated or quit, you are entitled to be paid for any unused vacation time that you have accrued.

However, sick time is not required to be paid out upon termination of employment in California, unless the employer has a policy or agreement that provides for such payment.

In your case, since you resigned from your job due to a medical issue, it may be worth speaking with your employer or HR department to see if they have any policies or agreements in place that provide for the payment of unused sick time. If not, then you may not be entitled to be paid for any unused sick time.

In any case, it is best to review your employment contract and any company policies to determine your entitlements for unused vacation and sick time.

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