No Kansas law requires private sector employers to provide employees with vacations, paid or unpaid, but most employers do offer this benefit.
It is important for employers to remember that if they “promise” vacation, they may be legally bound to provide it—and that a binding promise does not require embodiment in a formal employment contract. Kansas case law indicates that, under some circumstances, an employer's assurance of vacation time, whether made in an employee handbook, orally, or simply as a matter of consistent practice, may constitute an enforceable implied contract.
Employers must make available to employees, on request, a written summary of practices and policies regarding vacation pay, sick leave, and other benefits to which employees may be entitled. This notice may be given to employees individually or posted where employees will see it (KS Stat. Sec. 44-320).
“Wages” means compensation for labor or services rendered by an employee, whether the amount is determined on a time, task, piece, commission, or other basis less authorized withholding and deductions. While the Kansas Supreme Court has said that there is no inherent right to vacation payment for unused vacation time, if accrual or accumulation of vacation pay is promised to be paid for, that pay is considered wages and is owed when the employee leaves.
If the agreement also involves a “condition precedent” to receiving vacation pay (e.g., a certain period of notice to be given when leaving), the employer may reduce or eliminate the benefit accordingly. (See Dillard Dept. Stores, Inc. v. State Dept. of Human Resources, 13 P.3d 358 ...