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. This caution also applies to obligations to pay out accrued, but unused, vacation time at termination of employment.
Even where state law does not specifically require employers to pay out accrued vacation upon termination, a consistent practice, written policy, or contract promising such payment may create an enforceable legal obligation to do so. In such circumstances, earned vacation will generally be treated as wages pursuant to state wage payment and collection laws.
In Wyoming, state law excludes unpaid vacation from wages due at termination so long as specific steps are taken.
Under this law, "wages" means compensation, including fringe benefits, but does not include the value of vacation leave accrued at the date of termination so long as the employer's written policies provide that accrued vacation is forfeited on termination and the written policies are acknowledged in writing by the employee (WY Stat. Sec. 27-4-501 et seq.).
Therefore, employers wishing to exclude vacation payment of accrued vacation at termination must do so by written policy, with a signed ...