In most states, private sector employers are not required to provide vacation, whether paid or unpaid, to employees. Therefore, employers have significant discretion in developing vacation and personal leave policies that best fit the needs of their workplace and employees.
If promised, vacation must be granted. Nonetheless, it is important for employers to understand that, if their practices, policies, or statements rise to the level of creating a “promise” of vacation, then the employer may create a binding legal obligation to provide vacation—even when state law would not otherwise require it to do so.
Payout of vacation at termination. In Louisiana, vacation pay is considered “wages” and, once vacation time has accumulated, it is the property of the employee. Thus, unused earned time for paid vacation must be paid at termination. (Beard v. Summit Institute of Pulmonary Medicine, 707 So.2d 1233 (La. Sup. Ct. 1998); (LA R.S. 23:631, 23:634, and 23:636).
Specifically, vacation pay will be considered an amount then due only if, in accordance with the stated vacation policy of the person employing such laborer or other employee, both of the following apply:
(a). The laborer or other employee is deemed eligible for and has accrued the right to take vacation time with pay.
(b). The laborer or other employee has not taken or been compensated for the vacation time as of the date of the discharge or resignation.
For additional information on final wage payments, please see the Paychecks
Use it or lose it policies. Written or other policies requiring the forfeiture of vacation pay that has actually been earned by the employee pursuant to the employer’s policy are not enforceable.
However, employers ...