When you are getting ready to quit a job, it can be a confusing time. Many employees have lots of questions like:
“What happens to PTO when you quit?”
“Is my employer required to pay me unused vacation time?”
Being prepared with the right information will help you to anticipate your financial situation. Surprises are not welcomed when it comes to your vacation pay after quitting.
The Law and PTO Payout
What happens to paid time off is determined by individual states. The federal law that holds employers accountable for paying fair wages, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), only addresses when employees are working. There is no federal law that requires employers to pay employees vacation time or paid holidays. The federal government also does not have laws on the books regarding what happens to PTO when you quit.
When dealing with PTO payout when quitting, each state has its regulations. Most of the states across the country have certain requirements to pay unused PTO time/vacation time, but Florida is different.
If you have been wondering, “If I quit, do I get my vacation pay?” There is not a simple answer – it depends on your situation.
Florida, Georgia, South Dakota, and New Mexico do not have any state laws or policies regarding unused vacation time.
What Happens to PTO When You Quit: The Details
Several things can happen with PTO when quitting a job in Florida.
First, if you have a specific employment contract or agreement with your employer that details that you must be paid any PTO time or vacation time when you quit, they are legally obligated to pay you. It is critical to follow any specific policies or processes (such as a certain time frame for notification before leaving) when detailed in the agreement. If the contract parameters are not adhered to, your employer will not be legally liable.
Second, if your employer does offer PTO, vacation time, or paid holidays, they may have specific policies that detail that they will pay you anything unused – but they may not. Just like specific employment contracts, human resource policies will often require a certain amount of time (such as two weeks) for advance notification of your last day at work. These will need to be followed. Other employers may not have specific language in their HR policies detailing that they will pay you even if you give them notice.
There may also be different human resource policies for layoffs or if you get fired. It is important to thoroughly review the policies to ensure your understanding of what to expect.
The bottom line is that unless you have a specific employment contract, collective bargaining agreement, or another type of legally binding document that details that you must receive a PTO payout of accrued vacation time, your employer is not legally bound to pay it.
What Happens if I Don’t Get My Last Paycheck?
Whether or not you receive your unused PTO when you quit, you are lawfully owed fair wages for the time that you worked. Sometimes, employers will be upset with their employees for quitting and may decide to withhold your last paycheck for hours that you worked – a violation of employment law. Alternatively, suppose your employer decides to fire you after giving your notice and does not allow you to work those last two weeks. In that case, it is not typically unlawful unless you have a legally binding contract. Florida is considered an “at-will” state.
If your employer has withheld your last paycheck for hours you have worked, you may have a case and contact an employee rights attorney.
NOTE: Under Florida law, an employer has 30 days after the final paycheck request to send it to you.
Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A.: Fighting for Employee Rights
At Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., we fight for employee rights every day. Whether your employer has violated an employment contract, created a hostile work environment, or many other situations where employment law has been violated — we have a proven track record of success in holding employers accountable for their unlawful actions.
If you feel you may have a case against your employer for violating your employee rights, we are here to help. We are fierce advocates for Florida workers and know what it takes to stand up to powerful employers. Our employment law attorneys are experienced, have comprehensive employment law knowledge, and fight hard for justice.