“Accrued” vs “available” vacation

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meadowrue
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“Accrued” vs “available” vacation

Post by meadowrue »

I am getting closer to leaving my job (for a better one!) and I can’t seem to find any internal docs clarifying whether I will get paid out my unused vacation time if I leave before the end of the year. We have a “use it or lose it” policy within the calendar year.

Before my company was acquired, our employee handbook made it clear that any unused vacation would be paid out upon leaving, but for the life of me I can’t find a post-acquisition employee handbook. They let go of all our legacy Benefits folks too :annoyed

My question is: On my paystub, it says Accrued Vacation = 0; Available Vacation = 80 hours. Does this mean they’re dodging paying out “accrued” vacation by claiming there is vacation “available” but none “accrued?” I believe I have earned this vacation (pandemic change in rules allowed us to roll over a week from 2021 to 2022) but now I’m debating whether to use my 10 days or hope for a payout. I would prefer the latter but don’t want to lose both!

Thanks for the help.
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retired@50
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Re: “Accrued” vs “available” vacation

Post by retired@50 »

Check your state law on the topic.

In CA, it must be paid if not used.

Regards,
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meadowrue
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Re: “Accrued” vs “available” vacation

Post by meadowrue »

retired@50 wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:40 pm Check your state law on the topic.

In CA, it must be paid if not used.

Regards,
Thanks for the quick response. Seems like in my state it’s left up to employers to set their own policies. I’m just trying to figure out if my paystub is giving a clue. I don’t want to raise suspicion that I’m looking for another job so I’m hesitant to ask the question.
The only constant is change.
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retired@50
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Re: “Accrued” vs “available” vacation

Post by retired@50 »

meadowrue wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:46 pm
retired@50 wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:40 pm Check your state law on the topic.

In CA, it must be paid if not used.

Regards,
Thanks for the quick response. Seems like in my state it’s left up to employers to set their own policies. I’m just trying to figure out if my paystub is giving a clue. I don’t want to raise suspicion that I’m looking for another job so I’m hesitant to ask the question.
If it's not too personal, divulge your state, and perhaps a member of the bar association in that state will chime in.

Regards,
This is one person's opinion. Nothing more.
DoubleComma
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Re: “Accrued” vs “available” vacation

Post by DoubleComma »

Our PTO is reported on check stubs is the amount available to be used between then and the end of the year, however that isn’t the accrued value. We allow folks to use there total allowance before it’s actually been accrued, however if you leave we capture back from the final check any PTO used in excess of what was accrued. If you leave and have PTO remaining, you are paid for the amount accrued by your last day of work not the total amount and active employee could take.

Accrued PTO can be seen on our time management system, not on the paystub.

By the way this is the same policy in all 50 states. However in CA (and CO) you can carry over accrued balances from year to year up to a total bank max of 240 hours. Other states must use or lose their balance each year.
Last edited by DoubleComma on Wed Sep 21, 2022 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Topic Author
meadowrue
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Re: “Accrued” vs “available” vacation

Post by meadowrue »

retired@50 wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:48 pm
meadowrue wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:46 pm
retired@50 wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:40 pm Check your state law on the topic.

In CA, it must be paid if not used.

Regards,
Thanks for the quick response. Seems like in my state it’s left up to employers to set their own policies. I’m just trying to figure out if my paystub is giving a clue. I don’t want to raise suspicion that I’m looking for another job so I’m hesitant to ask the question.
If it's not too personal, divulge your state, and perhaps a member of the bar association in that state will chime in.

Regards,
I know that will be much more helpful but I am a super private person and my state is not as large as CA (there’s a clue :D ) I will keep digging for a state law that clarifies, or try to track down a new Benefits person who can answer. Thanks so much for responding.
The only constant is change.
safari
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Re: “Accrued” vs “available” vacation

Post by safari »

That could just mean that you didn't accrue any vacation in the last pay period because you had already accumulated the maximum you can have (80 hours or 2 weeks).
DoubleComma
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Re: “Accrued” vs “available” vacation

Post by DoubleComma »

meadowrue wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:58 pm
retired@50 wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:48 pm
meadowrue wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:46 pm
retired@50 wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:40 pm Check your state law on the topic.

In CA, it must be paid if not used.

Regards,
Thanks for the quick response. Seems like in my state it’s left up to employers to set their own policies. I’m just trying to figure out if my paystub is giving a clue. I don’t want to raise suspicion that I’m looking for another job so I’m hesitant to ask the question.
If it's not too personal, divulge your state, and perhaps a member of the bar association in that state will chime in.

Regards,
I know that will be much more helpful but I am a super private person and my state is not as large as CA (there’s a clue :D ) I will keep digging for a state law that clarifies, or try to track down a new Benefits person who can answer. Thanks so much for responding.
All states must pay out accused and unused PTO at separation. CA, CO, MT and I believe NE have laws that prevent use it or lose it so you carry accrued and unused balances from year to year up to a reasonable cap (often double the annual accrual).

Companies that don’t require accrual and have the newer flexible vacation policies that don’t set a specific limit on how much PTO can be used don’t have to buy out unused PTO. This system is often identified if you can use vacation with no requirement to accrue it first AND if you leave there is no payback requirement.

Accrual is the key — you need to find you company policy describing what type of PTO system you have to determine if you entitled to a cash out at separation.
Jags4186
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Re: “Accrued” vs “available” vacation

Post by Jags4186 »

The solution is simple. Put in your two weeks notice and then take 2 weeks vacation. Start the new job while on vacation.
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arcticpineapplecorp.
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Re: “Accrued” vs “available” vacation

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. »

would you leave only if you got paid for 80 hours?
conversely, would you not leave if you would get paid 0 hours if you had left?

if you're going to leave anyway, then it doesn't matter about "raising a suspicion" about leaving (when you're ready to go, i understand you don't want to raise suspicion now).

But there's no rush to ask until you've secured the other job. Once you've secured it, then ask for the details IN WRITING so you know whether you'll be paid 80 hours or 0 hours. Let them be suspicious then; you're leaving anyway!
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Beensabu
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Re: “Accrued” vs “available” vacation

Post by Beensabu »

Here: https://www.paycor.com/resource-center/ ... -by-state/

In states where "use it or lose it" is a thing, it seems like they go by whatever the employer's policy is or whatever is in the employment contract. If you've never been given a new policy or a page to sign that says "I received and totally read this handbook" then probably the old policy is still the policy. Did you sign a thing after acquisition that said you totally read stuff? Do you still have a copy of the old handbook? Hang onto that.
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meadowrue
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Re: “Accrued” vs “available” vacation

Post by meadowrue »

Thanks for all the helpful replies. I agree about asking (and potentially raising suspicion) after I’ve actually accepted another job. I have an interview next week and feel good about it, but you never know.

To answer some Qs … the 80 hours won’t change whether I leave or not. I am so ready to move on. It would just be nice to get the payout. I don’t necessarily need the vac time. I work remote and have a very relaxed schedule (trust me, it’s the ONLY perk of my current job but it means I’m not desperate for time off).

Putting in 2 weeks’ notice and then using those 2 weeks as vac time is just not something I could do in good faith. I can’t say I haven’t considered it!

When the acquisition happened, we had to sign a doc saying that we agreed to be paid by a new entity (bridge company of some kind?) until 12 months after the deal closed when we would officially switch to new company’s payroll. So I believe I’m still technically under old company’s rules (and have their handbook) but it’s pretty murky.
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Marseille07
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Re: “Accrued” vs “available” vacation

Post by Marseille07 »

I don't believe you'd be paid out cash for the unused vacation since their policy is that you don't accrue anything, but you can use 80 hours.

Why not take the 80 hours, then turn in 2-weeks as soon as you come back?
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Topic Author
meadowrue
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Re: “Accrued” vs “available” vacation

Post by meadowrue »

Marseille07 wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 10:03 pm I don't believe you'd be paid out cash for the unused vacation since their policy is that you don't accrue anything, but you can use 80 hours.

Why not take the 80 hours, then turn in 2-weeks as soon as you come back?
This is what I’ll do if I know for sure there is no unused vacation payout. I think you might be right about no accrual because several paystubs put my “accrued vacation” at zero even though I’ve had 5 weeks’ vacation “available” this year (and have used 3 so far). Knowing my company, I’m sure they’ve planned it so they don’t have to pay out. I just wish I knew for sure.
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Marseille07
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Re: “Accrued” vs “available” vacation

Post by Marseille07 »

meadowrue wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 10:14 pm
Marseille07 wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 10:03 pm I don't believe you'd be paid out cash for the unused vacation since their policy is that you don't accrue anything, but you can use 80 hours.

Why not take the 80 hours, then turn in 2-weeks as soon as you come back?
This is what I’ll do if I know for sure there is no unused vacation payout. I think you might be right about no accrual because several paystubs put my “accrued vacation” at zero even though I’ve had 5 weeks’ vacation “available” this year (and have used 3 so far). Knowing my company, I’m sure they’ve planned it so they don’t have to pay out. I just wish I knew for sure.
You can ask HR to confirm. I don't think you'll draw any suspicion, asking about this isn't unusual.
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