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Employer's mistake and correction question

Krteczech

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I am sure someone will be able to answer my concern. My employer made a mistake on my paycheck stab in May 2009 by not subtracting five days of cashed vacation time. I brought this up with Payroll and asked for correction immediately, I addressed it again when carry forward was showing incorrectly in July 2009 and July 2010. I was told twice not to worry and go by what is shown.
Past October 2011, without warning or acknowledgement, my employer adjusted VAC balance down five days. This is a hardship for me because I always plan my VAC well in advance. In addition our new contract has seven less VAC days from our old contract. Is there a limitation how far back can employer go to adjust for the mistake they made? I lost 12 days VAC time in one year:eek: . TUGGERS, you understand my pain... I am not a vacation addict, but I feel cheated and deprived of what I am always looking forward to. Thanks for your opinion.
 

dioxide45

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So you were aware that your VAC was showing too many days available by error? If that is the case, those days should not have been scheduled or taken. Recently my employer showed five too may vacation days for me. There was no way I would have ever taken them even if they never fixed the system. They did fix it fairly quickly though.

I don't know if there are any laws on look back. My guess is if you are under a contract, they can keep you bound to that contract at any time during the contract. Best to check with an attorney that specializes in such matters.
 

Krteczech

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To clarify- I have never taken VAC that I have not earned. My carry forward was done incorrectly and I asked my employer to correct it right away in May 2009 and again later. I was told not to worry and go by what is shown on my paycheck. We have to ask for approval to carry forward and again to use. I did everything they expect employees to do. My problem is that I don't have VAC days left for vacations planned and approved after this correction was made 2.5 years after mistake.
 

basham

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Continuing the hard love aspect.

If time off has been approved, and you do not have paid vacation days available, then you should be able to take them, but as unpaid days.

I do sympathise. You probably would be better off discussing the issue with your employer.

A question though, how does an employer/employee relationship exit if you are a contract worker.
 

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Maybe I'm not reading this right but it sounds like your employer forgot to deduct 5 days of vacation when they were originally taken and carried them forward for 2+ years until they were finally deducted. If they finally deducted the 5 days that were being carried forward, which you already used, and you don't use any vacation days you haven't earned then what's the issue?
 

Passepartout

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You might bring it up to Human Resources, but be prepared for a 'Sorry, you are just out the days.'

Back in my working life, I had accrued several weeks of vacation time. When I tried to schedule it, I found that unbeknownst to the employees, the owners (a family concern) had begun a 'use it or lose it' policy on vacation time carried over beyond an employee's anniversary date. I had lost over 2 weeks of both time off and pay for it.

So it goes.

Jim
 

Htoo0

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I've actually been in a similar situation. Company errors on pay and vacation during some major transitional changes. We brought it to their attention right away. But they didn't fix it for months. Finally they said forget the overpayment, it wasn't worth their time to correct it. (about $1K for most of us) As for the vacation, it was finally corrected. However, one co-worker was told some 3-4 years later they were reviewing their records and found a discrepancy in his vacation. It was 2-3 weeks and they wanted him to account for it. Even though he was able to prove their records were in error for most of it, they still took away 3 days for which he couldn't find his pay stubs. As for the extra pay, it's been over 6 years. Mine is still (technically) in savings should they want it back. They had better not count on interest however! :rolleyes:
 

geekette

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My gut feel is that benefits are at the discretion of the employer. That they can do whatever they want. Give, take, cheat, steal, it's all fair because they get to decide the rules.

For actual PAY, there are laws, to the best of my knowledge.

Keep fighting.
 

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A bit confused by your post. I worked in HR and Finance for many years so I usually have a good understanding of these matters. Here is my take;

1. You cashed in 5 vacation days for money. You were paid the money, accepted the money and presumably spent the money.

2. Your employer due to some sort of clerical error did not deduct the 5 days for which you were paid form your roster until 2 years later.

3. You voluntarily work under presumably a union (or other contract) which gave back 7 vacation days. You may not like it but the union (as your agent) acted on your behalf. If you do not agree with the union representation that you receive you are free to find other employment.

So I am not sure where the problem lies. You were paid days which were owed to you and a clerical correction was finally made. I do agree that the mistake should have been corrected in a more timely fashion but you were aware that the 5 days were cashed and you were not entitled to use them again.

Am I missing something?
 

vckempson

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Maybe I'm not reading this right but it sounds like your employer forgot to deduct 5 days of vacation when they were originally taken and carried them forward for 2+ years until they were finally deducted. If they finally deducted the 5 days that were being carried forward, which you already used, and you don't use any vacation days you haven't earned then what's the issue?
+1 for me.

What's the issue? The 5 days of overstated time wasn't real and it finally caught up with recordkeeping. Those 5 days weren't yours to use anymore after already using them several years ago. I certainly understand, though, the disappointment that they finally corrected it.

Obviously, you're an honest person, otherwise you wouldn't have pointed out the error over multiple years. Hopefully, you didn't book a vacation against it after repeatedly pointing out the mistake to them. Not sure how right it would be to fight for something that you're not really entitled to and was nothing other than an illusory clerical error all along.
 

Htoo0

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But I see the OP's point of being told by the employer not to worry about it and just go by what the (incorrect) records stated. It seems it was implied at the very least that they were not going to correct the records. So some two years later with vacations already planned for the year, the OP suddenly sees 5 days 'disappear' without notice. I think the question is, "How long would most people refuse to take vacation days they were not entitled to if they pointed the error out and the company tells them they can have them and not to worry about it?" 2 years? 5? Forever? And of course how would you handle it if two years later they change their minds without notification? My company doesn't allow carry over so if you don't take it they pay you for it. So one would be paid for those 5 days at the end of the year like it or not even if you told them it was an error. Then some years later the company notifies you they expect to be paid their money back. Sure it's the right thing to do but what if you didn't have the money to spare right then?

The fact that another 7 days was lost by some sort of contract change adds to their problem but isn't in question.

I think I'd ask if the 5 days couldn't be returned next year as this year's vacations have already been planned. Next year you'll simply not plan those days. It complicates their record-keeping but I would agree they owe you some sort of consideration after all this time.
 

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But I see the OP's point of being told by the employer not to worry about it and just go by what the (incorrect) records stated. It seems it was implied at the very least that they were not going to correct the records. So some two years later with vacations already planned for the year, the OP suddenly sees 5 days 'disappear' without notice. I think the question is, "How long would most people refuse to take vacation days they were not entitled to if they pointed the error out and the company tells them they can have them and not to worry about it?" 2 years? 5? Forever? And of course how would you handle it if two years later they change their minds without notification? My company doesn't allow carry over so if you don't take it they pay you for it. So one would be paid for those 5 days at the end of the year like it or not even if you told them it was an error. Then some years later the company notifies you they expect to be paid their money back. Sure it's the right thing to do but what if you didn't have the money to spare right then?

The fact that another 7 days was lost by some sort of contract change adds to their problem but isn't in question.

I think I'd ask if the 5 days couldn't be returned next year as this year's vacations have already been planned. Next year you'll simply not plan those days. It complicates their record-keeping but I would agree they owe you some sort of consideration after all this time.
But was the "don't worry" to mean "don't worry, we know that you are not entitled to the 5 days which you cashed out on and we paid you for", meaning we know how many days you really have in light of this clerical record keeping error. Or "don't worry you can have 5 free days you are not entitled to and you know you are not entitled to them". In a court of law I am thinking it would not be the latter.
 

pedro47

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Suggest: I would report this to the Dept. of Labor: Wage and Hour Division in your state ASAP.
 

PigsDad

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My gut feel is that benefits are at the discretion of the employer. That they can do whatever they want. Give, take, cheat, steal, it's all fair because they get to decide the rules.
It definitely depends on the state. I live in CO, and a few years ago my company eliminated the carry over of unused vacation time from one year to the next. It used to be that you could carry over up to two weeks of vacation, now it is "use it or lose it" in the calendar year. But employees who live in CA and MT don't have that restriction, because labor laws there say that once vacation time is "earned", it cannot be taken away. Therefore, employees there can still carry over vacation time to the next calendar year.

Kurt
 

geekette

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But was the "don't worry" to mean "don't worry, we know that you are not entitled to the 5 days which you cashed out on and we paid you for", meaning we know how many days you really have in light of this clerical record keeping error. Or "don't worry you can have 5 free days you are not entitled to and you know you are not entitled to them". In a court of law I am thinking it would not be the latter.
I think that an employer showing more vaca time than it was going to grant ON PAY STUBS FOR YEARS puts the onus on them. Prove he shouldn't have it, and what's the deal with distributing false and/or misleading documents to your employees??

It would not come down to the quotes above (altho they are very convenient for purposes of distilling this to it's outcome), it's a documentation thing to me. Don't put it in writing if you don't want it to come back around and bite you.

The change of contract resulting in less time off is a separate matter. could have happened last year or next year and still would be unrelated to the core issue.
 

IngridN

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It definitely depends on the state. I live in CO, and a few years ago my company eliminated the carry over of unused vacation time from one year to the next. It used to be that you could carry over up to two weeks of vacation, now it is "use it or lose it" in the calendar year. But employees who live in CA and MT don't have that restriction, because labor laws there say that once vacation time is "earned", it cannot be taken away. Therefore, employees there can still carry over vacation time to the next calendar year.

Kurt
In CA, your earned vacation cannot be taken away. That said, once we reach a certain level, 5 weeks of accrued vacation for me, you stop accruing vacation. So, they don't have to give you vacation, however, they cannot take away what has been earned.

ingrid
 

geekette

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It definitely depends on the state. I live in CO, and a few years ago my company eliminated the carry over of unused vacation time from one year to the next. It used to be that you could carry over up to two weeks of vacation, now it is "use it or lose it" in the calendar year. But employees who live in CA and MT don't have that restriction, because labor laws there say that once vacation time is "earned", it cannot be taken away. Therefore, employees there can still carry over vacation time to the next calendar year.

Kurt
State law, for sure. I live in an At Will state, so we know who holds the cards here, and it will never be the employees.
 

DeniseM

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Why don't you call your local labor relations board? - But first consider the consequences of rocking the boat. We recently had my DH's employer cancel his vacation at the last minute, and after considering it, he decided it wasn't worth losing his job over, or getting on the wrong side of the boss.
 

l2trade

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Blame aside, the lack of available vacation time is causing the OP 'pain'. Isn't that what sick days are for?
 

Ken555

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If this happened in my business, there wouldn't be any question what to do. We would simply correct our records, but most definitely extend the five days incorrectly given to the employee as a gift. There is no reason to expect an employee to wait years for accounting to update the books, and if the pay stub shows the vacation days increase and not fixed upon report (in a reasonable amount of time) then in my opinion the business should simply give the time to the employee.

Of course, larger businesses are significantly more bureaucratic and few people would accept the responsibility to make this type of decision. It's just appalling how much time is wasted on issues like this.
 

Passepartout

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I think I'd ask if the 5 days couldn't be returned next year as this year's vacations have already been planned. Next year you'll simply not plan those days. It complicates their record-keeping but I would agree they owe you some sort of consideration after all this time.
I think I'd go to management with this solution. It costs them nothing and gives a certain amount of good will. It's a shame they (the employer) waited 5 years to do the proper accounting.

Jim
 

Krteczech

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Thank you all for expressing your opinion. I knew I will get the whole spectrum from TUG. That's why I believe TUG membership is the best investment I made in years. I am open to all suggestions and please keep it going.

There is one more glitch in this situation. My job got re-classified from except //salary to hourly and due to this change VAC time doesn't get front loaded on 7/1, but gets accrued in small increments and I will not have VAC days earned for very long time. This is also a reason why I see the action of making correction to three years of records without even talking to me as a hardship.
 

ace2000

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Thank you all for expressing your opinion. I knew I will get the whole spectrum from TUG. That's why I believe TUG membership is the best investment I made in years. I am open to all suggestions and please keep it going.

There is one more glitch in this situation. My job got re-classified from except //salary to hourly and due to this change VAC time doesn't get front loaded on 7/1, but gets accrued in small increments and I will not have VAC days earned for very long time. This is also a reason why I see the action of making correction to three years of records without even talking to me as a hardship.
Would you mind answering some of the questions that have been raised? Specifically, what happened to those days? Did you get compensated already, or did you take them as vacation days?
 

geekette

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Thank you all for expressing your opinion. I knew I will get the whole spectrum from TUG. That's why I believe TUG membership is the best investment I made in years. I am open to all suggestions and please keep it going.

There is one more glitch in this situation. My job got re-classified from except //salary to hourly and due to this change VAC time doesn't get front loaded on 7/1, but gets accrued in small increments and I will not have VAC days earned for very long time. This is also a reason why I see the action of making correction to three years of records without even talking to me as a hardship.
that is a rather major glitch. you will either be quite sol or dealt with in a nice and human way. or something in between.

Maybe they failed to consider situations such as yours and just don't have a policy yet. In which case, be as diplomatic as possible while providing your input into the policy. accept a good compromise if offered.

I don't know you so please do not be offended: if you are a valued employee, and they are a good company, they will try to see it from your side. But I would not consider it a hardship to have received the payout previously and suddenly be in danger of losing a vacation. People are still losing their jobs. Please use a word otehr than hardship if you wish to garner their sympathies.

ps they do not have to consult you on changes to policy or corrections to past errors. playing that card is not likely to help you either. I'm not trying to be snarky, I'm trying to help you complete this situation to your advantage!
 
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Krteczech

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Would you mind answering some of the questions that have been raised? Specifically, what happened to those days? Did you get compensated already, or did you take them as vacation days?
Clarification - as I stated earlier, I was offered cash out option for 5 days in May 2009 and the proceeds were transferred to Deferred Comp/retirement savings. I was new to the job and was not able to take vacation days yet.
I made Payroll aware of not having this reflected on my pay stab, but was told not to worry about it and consider their numbers to be valid after I tried to discuss it with them for the third time in July 2010.
I am sure I am not the only one in the whole unit, but looks to me like I am the only one taking vacations (not just long weekends like many of my colleagues ).

Give me a hint how Not to stress about it and let go considering that I have vacations booked, tickets paid for, friends from Europe coming to visit...:shrug:
 
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