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Revoking Vacation Pay

Expert: Belinda Sutton

Tom Clarke asked:

If I quit my job without giving two weeks notice, does that give my employer the right to revoke my vacation pay?

Belinda Sutton answered:

Generally, the Employment Standards Act, 2000 does not require an employee to provide the employer with notice that he or she is resigning. Further, the act prohibits an employer from withholding wages or making any deductions from wages (including vacation pay) unless the employee has provided the employer with written authorization for the deduction, or the deduction is authorized by a statue of Ontario or Canada or by a court. As a result, an employer would not generally be able to withold outstanding vacation pay simply because the employee had failed to provide two weeks notice of his or her resignation.

However, an obligation to provide an employer with notice of resignation may be established as a matter of contract between the employer and employee. If the contract authorizes the employer to either withhold wages or make a deduction from wages and if the employee quits without providing the requisite notice, it may be considered a valid written authorization under the act. However, in order for this to be the case, it must be in writing and it must specify the amount to be withheld or deducted, or set out a formula from which a specific amount may be calculated.

About the author

Belinda Sutton is a Communications Officer with the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

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