If your employer provides vacation benefits, it must manage those benefits fairly. If your employer has unilaterally terminated your vacation benefits or fired you without paying accrued vacation, you should contact the Illinois vacation benefit attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center today.
Neither federal law nor Illinois law requires employers to provide vacation benefits. Your employer does not have to give you any vacation days, and if your employer does allow for vacation days, the employer does not have to compensate you for those days off. However, many employers do choose to provide paid vacation days to employees, usually based on a set number of days per year or based upon accrual of vacation time in connection with the number of days worked. Some form of paid vacation has become standard in many fields, and employers looking to compete for qualified employees offer vacation to entice employees, reward hard work, and to keep employees fresh and avoid “burn out.”
When an employer does provide vacation benefits, Illinois law protects those benefits. If an employer has a policy of providing vacation benefits, or has promised those benefits as part of the employee’s compensation, the employer must provide those benefits. Vacation benefits can be administered on a “use it or lose it” basis, where vacation time must be used by a certain date. If this is done, the employer must allow a reasonable amount of time to use the vacation benefits.
Vacation benefits are frequently an issue when employment is terminated. Whether an employee quits or is fired, the employee is due all earned vacation time at the time of separation. This is because vacation benefits are viewed as a portion of the employee’s compensation. Your employer is not allowed to require you to give up pay for your accrued vacation upon separation, unless your employment is governed by a collective bargaining agreement.
Vacation and sick leave can impact the determination of overtime benefits under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under FLSA, overtime is calculated based upon hours worked. While you may accrue vacation or sick leave and then use that leave in a given week, it is not factored in to overtime calculations. For example, if you normally work five nine-hour shifts in a week, you are typically entitled to five hours of overtime. However, if you are on vacation for one of those days, even though you may use one day or nine hours of vacation time, you have only worked 36 hours and are not eligible for overtime that week. Different rules apply under FLSA for those working on government contracts.
Your entitlement to vacation benefits may seem unclear. The experienced Illinois vacation benefits attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center can help. We will take the time to listen to your concerns, understand the employer’s vacation policies, and determine whether you have a claim for unpaid vacation benefits. If we file a claim and are successful, your employer must pay all your legal fees. Call us today for a free, confidential consultation at (312) 869-4095.