Legal Question in Employment Law in Washington

former employer won't pay vacation time!

I quit a job I held for three years about three months ago, and my former employer will not even pay my unused, accrued vacation time. In one location in the employee manual, it states that vacation time will be paid, on another page it says that vacation time will not be paid. Since this employer has paid employees their unused accrued vac. time in the past, (within the last year) it seems only fair that he would pay me. After I pointed this out to him, he paid me only $86 of the $900 of vacation time I had earned. My family has suggested taking him to small claims or collections. How can I be sure I'll win? How should I get my money?

Asked on 7/25/07, 5:20 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jill Pugh Law Office of D. Jill Pugh

Re: former employer won't pay vacation time!

Unfortunately in Washington, unlike in some other states, there is no law and no requirement that an employer pay you for unused accrued vacation time. The courts have looked at it as a matter of contract, which means you have some good facts since at one place in the manual it says vacation time will be paid. There is no way to be sure you will win. Your best bet may be to file a complaint with the state Department of Labor and Industries. See their information at

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Answered on 7/25/07, 5:34 pm

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