The U.S. is the only industrialized nation that does not have national laws requiring employers to provide vacation time to employees. However, most employers do give employees vacation time, and this is one of the main benefits employees look for when applying for jobs. Each U.S. state implements and enforces its own labor laws. Florida labor laws are found in Chapters 443 and 448 of the Florida Statutes, but there is no Florida employment law regarding vacation pay.
Florida Labor Laws
The labor laws in Florida do not require companies to offer vacation time to employees. It is up to each individual company to determine its own policies regarding vacation time. Employees should request a copy of the company's policies and procedures or employee handbook when starting employment. If the policies state a specific amount of days for vacation and they are not provided, the employee may be able to take legal action to enforce the company to fulfill its obligations.
Florida law defines wages to include "all remuneration for employment, including commissions, bonuses, back pay awards, and the cash value of all remuneration paid in any medium other than cash." Because the statute does not explicitly include vacation time in this definition, employers may generally enforce "use it or lose it" policies, and some employment contracts may not provide for forfeit of unused vacation upon termination.
Read More: Florida PTO Laws
Company Vacation Rules
While Florida doesn't have any vacation labor laws, it is one of the states that require employers to pay unused vacation upon termination if the company's policies allow vacation time to accrue. The same rules apply to paid holidays and sick leave. They are not mandated by the state, but can be enforced if it is company policy. Federal law applies only if employees were discriminated against by the company's failure to not apply the same rules to all personnel.
Use It or Lose It Policy
Employers in most states, including Florida, have the right to set a date by which employees must take accrued vacation time, otherwise they lose it. Two exceptions are California and Montana. In California, vacation pay is considered to be another form of wages and, as such, cannot be taken away from an employee under any "use it or lose it" policy. Upon termination of employment, California workers receive any accrued vacation time paid in dollars.
There are no Florida labor laws regarding vacation time or vacation pay, so each company can create its own vacation policies.
- Online Sunshine: The 2018 Florida Statutes Title XXXI Chapter 448 General Labor Regulations
- State of California Department of Industrial Relations: Vacation
- Montana.gov: Montana Department of Labor and Industry Frequently Asked Questions
- U.S. Department of Labor: Vacation Leave
- The Florida Senate: 2018 Florida Statutes 443.1217, Wages
Claire is a qualified lawyer and specialized in family law before becoming a full-time writer. She has written for many digital publications, including The Washington Post, Forbes, Vice and HealthCentral.