Forfeiture of Earned Vacation Time

My employer’s vacation plan states that I will lose all of my vacation time if I do not use it by the end of the year. Is this legal?

No. It is not legal in California to deny vacation pay that isn’t used by a certain date. Vacation pay is a form of wages that an employee is guaranteed to as that pay is earned and it would be illegal for an employer to not pay those wages. If you had to forfeit your vacation wages because you didn’t take your vacation time by a certain date, you may file a vacation wage claim in California. “Use it or lose it” vacation policies are illegal and you may file a vacation wage claim.


Jane has a total of 3 weeks vacation pay that she has earned, however Jane has not used her vacation time yet this year due to personal circumstances. Jane’s employer told Jane that if she didn’t use her vacation time before the end of the year, she would lose all of that time. This is illegal. Jane earned that vacation time and is entitled to those wages. Jane can file a vacation wage claim in California to make sure she doesn’t lose her 3 weeks paid vacation time. Jane can also contact a vacation wage claim lawyer who can file a claim for her.

If you have a question about California vacation law or want to file a vacation wage claim, contact Strauss & Strauss APC now.

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