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North Dakota Vacations: What you need to know

If promised, must be granted. Although no North Dakota law requires private sector employers to provide employees with vacations, paid or unpaid, most employers do offer their employees some version of vacation. Thus, it is important for employers to remember that if they “promise” vacation, they might be legally bound to provide it--and that a binding promise does not require embodiment in a formal employment contract. North Dakota courts have ruled that under some circumstances, an employer's assurance of paid vacation time, whether made in an employee handbook, given orally, or simply understood as a matter of consistent practice, might 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--for example, on a monthly or pay-period basis, or 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 would 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? Paid time off, once earned or awarded, is considered wages upon separation from employment. If the paid time off is available for use at the time of separation from employment, the employer must pay the employee for that time at the regular rate of pay earned by the employee before separation. No employment contract or policy may provide for forfeiture of earned paid time off upon separation. ...

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