Is this employee getting screwed?

This not a riddle. If anyone knows employment law, that’d help, but all opinions are welcome.

A friend has been laid off. He had carried over 11 vacations days from 2000 to 2001. He did this within company guidelines. Upon termination, he was notified that his former employer would not be paying out those 11 days. They are still in business, just scaling down.

They advised in writing that “…it is not our policy…” to do so.

What?! Isn’t this double dipping? The employer has to supply paid vacation, correct? If they create a procedure to allow employees to carry over vacation, that can’t be a backdoor to screw them out of it…can it? They still have vacation time to honor, if not in time, then in money.

Any help would be appreciated. The person is a PA state resident for a private company.

Carry-over and remuneration are two different things. Some companies allow carry-over with the tacit understanding that you’ll use those vacation days. This does not mean they’ll pay for his unused days at exit. Your friend needs to take a look at his employment contract and/or employee handbook. If this situation isn’t explicitly addressed, I think it’s unlikely he’ll be paid for any unused days.

Was this person working under either a union contract or were there written personnel policies? If so, the company must follow those written policies.

My understanding is that without written policies to go on, one would need to look at how they’d treated employees in the past. Don’t know how you’d go about finding out, but if they’d routinely paid out vacation leave in the past, they should again. Does your friend know any former co worker who left w/in the last year or so?

(In my company, written policy is that we get paid vacation leave, not sick leave - but if we’re ever re-hired, we get the sick leave back, which meant that when I had a 2 month lay off in 1991, I didn’t loose the several hundred sick leave hours.)

Starting with the usual “I am not a lawyer, and I don’t live in PA, for that matter.”

No, the employer does not have to provide a paid vacation. The only thing an employer HAS to do is pay you for the work you do, and if the employee is covered by law, pay overtime. No sick leave, no vacation, no health insurance, no pension plan. I’m assuming the employee doesn’t have a contract or an employee guidebook that says anything different.

If the employer were nice, they’d let the employee take vacation for the last 11 days, then terminate him, but it’s not required.

No, it’s not double dipping. The employer showed up, worked, and got paid for it.

Our company guidelines state that we can carry over vacation days into the next calendar year with supervisor’s approval blah-blah-blah, but also that vacation days (and sick leave, for that matter) are a “use it or lose it” benefit and that we can’t carry them over indefinitely or cash them in when we leave the company.

And by the way, even if the employee guidelines say differently, employee guidelines generally also say they can be modified by the employer at any time.