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SK: An employee has failed to properly track his vacation time

Expert: Representative, Employment Standards Branch

Dave asked:

We have an employee that has worked for us for 18 years and claims he has not taken all his vacation. He is responsible for scheduling, and recording his vacation time, we are not sure that all has been paid or taken. He receives 5 week vacation. How far back can he claim for unpaid vacation. (This is an employee in Saskatchewan.)

Representative, Employment Standards Branch answered:

We spoke with a representative of the Labour Standards office in Saskatchewan, who explained that unfortunately it is the responsibility of the employer, not the employee, to track vacation time and pay.

To answer your question about how far your employee can go back, the representative explained that the times are different depending on whether the employee hires a lawyer or goes through the Labour Standards office. If your employee goes through the provincial office, he can go back 1 year and 11 months. However, if he hires a lawyer the representative said he can go back five to seven years.

Since the employee may not be thinking of hiring a lawyer at this point, it may be in your best interest to negotiate a settlement using the 1 year, 11 month timeframe used by the Labour Standards office.

From your situation it sounds like you may need additional advice to move forward. You may want to call the Labour Standards office for more information on your situation. You may also want to seek advice from a lawyer who specializes in HR law about the best way to approach the situation.

Regardless of what you decide, you will want to make sure that any agreement you do make is legally valid and binding.

About the author

The Employment Standards office is the government division responsible for managing employer-employee relationships, from hiring through to termination.

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