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Paid vacation and your legal rights as an employee

When you agree to become an employee of a new company, it's critical to sign an employment contract that outlines the terms and conditions of your arrangement. Furthermore, an employee handbook will help you understand your company's stance on a variety of subjects, such as paid vacation.

While an employer is not required to provide paid vacation, it's something that most companies do. If providing vacation time, your employer must:

  • Apply accrual standards: For example, you should accrue paid vacation days in the same manner as every other employee. Without a standard accrual system in place, a claim of discrimination is much more likely.
  • Inform employees of any changes: Your employer has the right to alter its vacation plan, but must inform employees if doing so. For instance, your contract and employee handbook may state that you accrue vacation days on a monthly basis. However, your employer may change this to an annual calendar system in which you're provided vacation days on the first of every year.

You're not legally entitled to paid vacation, but if it's part of your contract, your employer is required to live up to the terms and conditions.

If you run into any issues regarding paid vacation, sick days or unpaid leave, discuss your concerns with your supervisor and/or human resources department. This may be enough to find a resolution that suits both parties.

If the issue persists, perhaps because you feel like you're being discriminated against, review your contract and handbook with the idea of collecting information that will help you protect your legal rights.

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