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Are Employers Required to Offer Vacation in California?

vacationWhether around summertime, the holidays, or other times throughout the year, both employers and employees in California often wonder, are employers required to offer vacation in California?

The answer is generally “no.”  California employers are required to provide paid sick leave, but not paid or unpaid vacation leave.

However, there are a number of rules and limitations and protections for employees when it comes to vacation time and sick leaves, so read on for some more information.

California’s Vacation Laws

California does not require employers to provide its employees with paid or unpaid vacation time.  However, if an employer does provide employees with vacation time, and employees accrue vacation time, then there are rules that govern how that earned vacation time must be dealt with if the employee leaves or departs the company.

Cashing Out Earned Vacation Time

There is no “use it or lose it” for vacation days in California. California’s laws do not allow earned vacation time to be forfeited, even if the employee is fired, even fired for cause. Once the employee leaves, all earned but unused vacation time must be paid to the employee at the employee’s regular hourly rate.  That being said, employers are authorized to place a cap on vacation benefits that the employee earns over time.

Paid Sick Leave

Starting July 1, 2015, California employers are required to provide employees with at least 3 days of paid sick leave per year. The California Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 applies to all employers, regardless of size, or tax status. California businesses are required to provide California employees with one hour of paid sick leave for every thirty hours worked.  The time must be permitted to accrue and carry over from year to year as well.

What’s the Difference Between PTO and Vacation Time?

Sometimes, employers have “PTO” (paid time off) instead of using terms like sick days or vacation days. Is there a difference between them? In California, there is no difference.  Any PTO time can be used for vacation, sick time, personal days, or any other reason. They all basically count as “vacation days.”

NeedtoChatAXIS Legal Counsel is an employment law firm representing clients  in numerous kinds of lawsuits and disputes involving some of the nation’s largest employers.  For information on retaining AXIS Legal Counsel for any employment matter, contact [email protected] or call (213) 403-0130 for a confidential consultation, or visit our Employee’ Rights Practice Area, or Individual Rights Portal. AXIS is a Los Angeles, California employment law firm serving employees all over Los Angeles and California.

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