The pandemic upended the vacation plans of many employees across the country. Employees and managers are now facing a year-end reckoning over unused paid time off.
1. Laws can vary across states, cities and counties.
Many states allow “use-it-or-lose-it” policies, meaning any unused vacation time is forfeited at the end of the year. Other states, however, apply restrictions to those policies. With so many employees switching to remote work this year, it’s worth being aware of the laws in the place the work is being done, experts say.
2. Employers could consider short-term changes.
Your employer might not be looking to make permanent changes to their vacation policy, but could look to temporary shifts in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Companies may be willing to consider individual accommodations to the regular policy, a companywide temporary policy change or some other solution.
3. Don’t bank on a payout.
Given the economic fallout of the pandemic, companies might not be in a position to pay employees for unused vacation times, especially if that hasn’t been their policy in the past. “It comes down to shades of generosity,” says Deidra Nguyen, a San Diego-based employment lawyer with Littler Mendelson, a law firm that specializes in management representation. “Realistically, do we think employees are going to have the full and fair opportunity to use this vacation in Q1, or could it take longer? There’s a lot of crystal-balling.”
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