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Serrins & Associates LLC Employment Law Blog

Monday, August 6, 2018

Summer’s here! Does my boss have to let me take a vacation?

The sun is shining, the temperature is rising, and some days it seems like everyone and their dog has fled New York City for the beach. That’s right, summer has arrived in New York, and with it the hope for a well-deserved vacation from the daily grind. But is your boss required to allow you to take a vacation? And if so, is he also required to pay for it?

The short answer: No. Generally speaking, employers do not have any legal duty to provide an employee with what we would consider “vacation time,” whether it is paid or unpaid. Under state law, employers do not have to pay employees for time that is not actually worked, whether that be vacation time, personal time, or sick time. In fact, employers are under no obligation to even grant unpaid vacation time, in the form of a series of days off that differ from the employee’s normal work schedule. This is a policy choice that is also reflected in federal law, which has no vacation requirements. Believe it or not, there is no state in the country that has a law requiring employers to offer employees any vacation leave at all, paid or unpaid. Contrast this with Europe: every country in the European Union mandates at least four weeks of paid vacation.

Many of our readers might be surprised by just how few protections workers have when it comes to required days off. On the federal level, there is no limit on the amount of days in a row an employee can work (provided, of course, overtime is paid if it is applicable). In New York, only certain types and classes of workers are entitled to at least one “day of rest” out of every seven.

However, many employers do offer paid leave policies on their own initiative. If your employer has previously created a vacation policy and has informed you that it applies to you – in other words, if he or she has promised you vacation time – the employer must adhere to that policy. If the policy involves paid leave, he has to let you take a paid vacation, and if it involves unpaid leave, he at least has to allow you to take some time off without worrying about whether your job will still be there when you get back. If he does not allow this, he may be in violation of the law.

Additionally, most employees in New York City must be provided with paid sick leave. Specifically, employers with 5 or more employees must provide paid sick leave, and employers with less than 5 employees must provide unpaid sick leave. If your employer is not adhering to these policies, that is a breach of the law, and you should contact an employment lawyer right away. Employers must also provide so-called “reasonable accommodations” to employees suffering from an illness or disability, which may include reasonable time off from the job.

The rules and regulations concerning days off, hours worked, and overtime can be complicated - read more about wage, hour, and overtime law on our website. And contact one of our experienced and dedicated employment attorneys if you think that your boss is breaking the law and taking advantage of you at work.





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