Paid time off

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:36 pm
You may be surprised to learn that there are no laws requiring employers to pay you for time off, whether it's for vacation or holidays. If you receive a paid vacation, it's because of custom, not law. Basically, employers have the discretion of deciding your time-off benefits, as well as how and when they're dispensed. For example, it's perfectly legal for an employer to require a certain length of employment before you're entitled to any paid vacation time. It's also legal for employers to prorate vacations for part-time employees, or to deny them the benefit completely. Employers are also free to set limits on how much paid time off employees may store up before it must be taken. Keep in mind that if your company does have a policy of offering employees paid time off, the company can't discriminate in offering it. In other words, all employees must be subject to the same rules. There are generally two forms of paid time off. The traditional method allocates time off for vacation, sick leave, or personal time. Funerals and jury duty are the most common paid leave allowances offered by employers for personal needs. There's also a practice known as compensatory or comp time, which involves employers offering employees time off from work in place of cash payments for working overtime. Though federal law doesn't require an employer to provide employees with paid time off, most employers commonly provide employees with one to four weeks of paid vacation time, often based on the length of service or position.

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