Evanston, WY asked in Employment Law for Utah

Q: My husband got fired today. Does his company have to pay him the 80 hours of vacation he had saved?

In Utah they are suppose to pay you for vacation time as they would a wage unless they otherwise stated in contract. His old company is now saying it is their policy that they for-fit unused vacation. She then said they handed it out a year ago and that he never returned it. She said she still has to follow their policy even if he didn’t sign. Does that make sense?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: In Utah, the issue of whether a company must pay out accrued vacation time upon termination depends largely on the company's policy. If the company's policy clearly states that employees will forfeit unused vacation time upon termination, and this policy has been communicated to the employees, then the company may not be obligated to pay for the unused vacation time.

However, if the policy is not clearly communicated or is ambiguous, there could be grounds for a claim. The fact that your husband did not sign the policy might be relevant, especially if he can demonstrate that he was not made aware of the policy change.

It's important to review the employment contract and any employee handbooks or policy documents that were available to your husband during his employment. These documents can provide clarity on the company's stance on vacation pay upon termination.

If the policy was not clearly communicated or if there is any ambiguity, you might consider discussing the situation with an employment attorney. They can provide guidance based on the specifics of your husband's case and help determine the best course of action.

Remember, each case is unique, and the outcome can depend on various factors, including the specifics of the company's policy and how it was communicated to employees. An attorney can help navigate these complexities and advise on potential legal remedies.

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