Keeping up with California’s vacation laws

On Behalf of | Nov 11, 2022 | Employment Law |

With Halloween behind us, employers across California are gearing up for the holiday season. There are many coming federal and religious holidays, which means much of your staff may pursue using their vacation time. Now is a good time to brush up on some basic California vacation law facts.

There is no law saying you must give vacation time

While virtually every profession comes with the expectation of vacation, there is no state law requiring that. Your company may or may not give time off, depending on the nature of your work and the labor market.

If you give vacation time, you must follow the rules

California has many rules regarding vacation. Electing to offer employees vacation means you are opting to create a policy in line with what California demands. California law dictates how vacation time is accrued, how long employees must use it and what to do with vacation pay for terminated employees.

How much time can an employee accrue?

California law looks at vacation time as a form of compensation. Since it is compensation that an employee earns, the state does not place a cap on it. However, your company can place a reasonable cap on vacation time accrual.

There is no deadline for vacation use

In addition to having no cap on how much an employee can accrue, there is no legal “use it or lose it” policy. You can opt to pay people for unused vacation or mandate vacations for your employees, but employees cannot “lose” the time they earn. Additionally, if a person has accrued a great deal of vacation time, they must receive monetary compensation if you fire them or they resign.

Who is in control of when employees take vacations?

While the rules outline an employee-friendly vacation legal landscape, employers still retain much control over their employees’ vacation usage. Employers can deny vacation requests. There are many ways an employer can stay in the driver’s seat. But a skilled attorney who understands California’s employment laws can ensure that you craft attractive, workable vacation policies.


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