Male worker packing belongs into a box

How Can I Get Paid for My Unused Vacation Time After Changing Jobs?

Whether leaving a company on your terms or not, if you have earned vacation time, you have the right to be paid for any unused hours. That’s according to California law. However, many other states across the country do follow the same regulations. Read on to learn more about this law and what options are available if you were not paid for unused vacation time.

California Legislation

For dozens of years, California employers have had to abide by the law that states that any unused vacation time at the end of a person’s employment must be paid out to that employee. The circumstances of the employee’s departure doesn’t matter — whether the employee quit without notice, quit with notice, or was fired, that employee is entitled to their vacation time pay because those are considered earned wages.

The employee’s unpaid vacation hours should be paid out at an employee’s regular rate of pay — not an overtime rate or diminished rate. Employees who notify their employer of their resignation and then notice that the employer takes away unused vacation time should contact a legal representative immediately.

Options Available

If an employee separates from their employer and notices that they aren’t being compensated for their unused vacation time, there are actions they can take.


First, it’s critical for the employee to make sure that the employer didn’t make a mistake or the timing was off for the payout. For example, if an employee would separate from an employer at the beginning of a pay period, it may take about two weeks to fully receive a payout of vacation time from the employer. If an employee knows that they have received their final paycheck from their employer and the vacation payout was not included in that paycheck then an employee needs to consider potentially taking legal action.

Contacting an Employment Lawyer

An employment lawyer can help an employee understand their options when it comes to making sure that they are properly compensated for earned wages. The team at Cohelan Khoury & Singer is a firm that will work with employees because we fight for the rights of workers. See how we have helped others and reach out for a free consultation to get started on your case.