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Vacation Days Carry Over, or Not?

Expert: The Ontario Ministry of Labour

The individual asked:

In Ontario, can an employer at his own discretion wipe out vacation days that are earned but not taken during the year and not pay the employee for them or not allow the employee to carry over unused vacation time to the following year?

The Ontario Ministry of Labour answered:

To answer this question, we referred to Section XI of the Ontario Employment Standards Act, which deals with vacation pay, located online at www.gov.on.ca/LAB/es/ese.htm.

We also contacted a research officer within the Ontario Ministry of Labour to confirm the accuracy of the response. Lars Christiansen [416-326-7160] of the Ministry said that an employer cannot infringe upon the rights of an employee and deny them vacation time or payment of vacation time whether it is taken or not. He said that, in most cases, an employer stipulates vacation requirements in a policy and employees are required to take vacation within a specific period of time. But employers cannot deprive employees of the right to a vacation time. On the question of carrying over unused vacation time to the following year, Christiansen said that a pre-arrangement must be made with the employer to establish and negotiate the carry-over prior to year's end.


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