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Washington Vacations: What you need to know

If promised, vacation must be granted. Although no Washington law requires private sector employers to provide employees with vacations, paid or unpaid, most employers do offer their employees some version of vacation. Employers need to keep firmly in mind 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. Washington courts have ruled that, under some circumstances, an employer's policy or practice, whether made in an employee handbook, or given orally, or simply understood as a matter of consistent practice, may constitute an implied contract, which is binding and enforceable.
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Accrual method. Employers are free to devise their own system for vacation accrual. There are several different commonly used options:
• On a monthly basis
• On a pay-period basis
• Upon completion of a 6-month or 12-month period
It is important to be clear and unambiguous when drafting such policies. If the policy is intended to ensure that employees work the entire accrual period to earn their vacation days, it should state clearly that employees will not be entitled to pro rata payment if they leave partway through the period. Remember that any vagueness in the policy is likely to be construed against the employer.
Vacation pay due at termination. The state of Washington has no statute dealing with pay for unused vacation upon termination from work. In a state appeals court decision, the court denied pay for unused vacation time, saying that the right to paid vacation time did not guarantee an employee vacation pay “in lieu of vacation time in absence of [a contract] provision … expressly granting the right” (Walters v. Ctr. ...

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Washington Vacations Resources

TypeTitle
Forms Request for Days Off
Policies Vacation
White Papers Time off May Be the Biggest Benefit

Vacations Products

Solving PTO Problems Webinar Recording
Solving PTO Problems: How to Reduce Unscheduled Absences Without Alienating Employees or Violating the Law"
Perfecting Your PTO Policy Recording
BLR Webinar: "Perfecting Your PTO Policy: How to Curb Abuse, Cut Absenteeism, and Comply with the Law""
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Claim Your Free Copy of Top 100 FLSA Overtime Q&As

We’ve compiled a list of the 100 most commonly asked questions we have received on the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations.
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This report, "Top 100 FLSA Q&As", is designed to provide you with an examination of the federal FLSA overtime regulations in Q&A format, including valuable tips for bringing your workplace into compliance in an affordable manner.

At the end of the report, you will find a list of state resources on wage and hour issues. This report includes practical advice on topics such as:
  • FLSA Coverage: How FLSA regulations apply to all employers and any specific exemptions from the overtime requirements
  • Salary Level: Qualifying for exemptions and nonexempt employees
  • Deductions from Pay: Deducting for violations, disciplinary reasons, sick leave, or personal leave


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