With the summer starting, it’s essential to know your rights when it comes to taking vacation time. Whether you are entitled to this time or whether your boss can force you to work on your days off, here is what you need to know.
Employees are not entitled to vacation days
If you work for a private employer, New Jersey does not require them to provide paid or unpaid vacation days. Most vacation days are provided for in employment agreements, collective bargaining agreements (CBA) or as a policy in employee handbooks. According to the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL), if an employer chooses to offer vacation days, they must be administered “uniformly” in accordance with their established policy or employment agreement.
What to do if your employer refuses to approve vacation days or has rescinded them
First, check your employee handbook, employment contract, or CBA to understand your employer’s procedures and policies for receiving vacation time. If your employer offers this time off and is in violation of its policy, you may want to talk to your human relations department or a private attorney because they may be in breach of contract. Likewise, if your employer has rescinded your pre-approved vacation days, and you feel they are discriminating or retaliating against you, they may be in violation of state or federal law.
Can my employer call me during vacation or ask me to do work on my days off?
Hopefully, your vacation is free from interruption, and you are able to enjoy your time off. However, this is not always the case. If you are an hourly, non-exempt employee and your employer does contact you during your time off, your employer will likely be required to pay you for the time you spend working. An hourly, non-exempt employee is someone who is paid an hourly wage and is entitled to minimum wage and overtime for working over 40 hours per week.
Can I be disciplined or terminated if I refuse to be available while on vacation?
Again, you need to review your company’s policies and procedures. If you believe you are being singled out or treated unfairly compared to other employees who take vacation days, your employer may be in breach of contract or in violation of federal or state law. If you believe this to be the case, McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. has experienced wage and hour lawyers here to help you. Please call our office in Red Bank, New Jersey at 732-842-6500, our Marlton, New Jersey office at 856-985-9800, or our Newark, New Jersey office at 973-787-9040 to find out more.