When you quit or are fired from your job, what happens to any vacation days that you have accrued? Also, what if you have “borrowed” vacation days that you have not earned yet? The answer to these questions depends solely on what state you live in.

Accrued Vacation in Different States

Different states treat accrued vacation time differently. For example, some states, like California, consider accrued vacation to be the same as earned wages. Therefore, your employer is required to reimburse you for the unused days. However, other states, like Florida, do not consider vacation to be wages. Therefore, it is completely at your employer’s discretion whether you are paid for your unused days or not.

Overdrawn Vacation in Different States

Similarly, different states treat overdrawn vacation differently. Some states allow employers to deduct the value of the vacation from the final paycheck, as long as that deduction does not drop your pay below the federal minimum wage. Other states allow the deduction as long as you agreed to it in writing. Finally, several states prohibit employers from recovering the cost of any overdrawn vacation. Ironically, California is one of these states, even though it requires the payment of any accrued vacation.

Should I Hire a Lawyer?

If you are unsure of the relevant laws regarding accrued vacation or overdrawn vacation time in your area, you should consult with a lawyer. An experienced employment attorney will be able to let you know what your rights and liabilities are. Another good resource is your state’s Department of Labor.