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Can an employer require use of vacation pay?

Expert: Jane Southren

Corrina asked:

If an employee is off on a paid sick leave for 10 days can I require him to use some of his vacation pay to compensate?

Jane Southren answered:

You should have something in an employment contract with your employees and your employee policies that deals with how many sick days they get with pay or without pay and how many vacation days they get and how all of those are available to be used.

You can stipulate that if they go over the sick days you can then start deducting from their vacation days.

What the statutes require in terms of sick days will depend on what province the question is coming from but you can generally contact a help line run by the provincial government in relation to its provincial employment statutes. In Ontario it is the employment standards hotline and you can find it online. I'm not sure where this question is coming from, but whatever province or territory you are in you can go online to find the local help line for questions relating to the requirements of the statutes.

About the author

Jane practises as a civil litigator, with a focus in the areas of employment law, breach of contract, professional negligence and dispute resolution strategies. Having completed both her LLB and JD degrees from the law schools of the University of Windsor and the University of Detroit (Mercy) in 1995, Jane was called to the Ontario Bar in 1997, invited into the partnership of McDonald & Hayden LLP in Toronto in 2001.

In 2005 she joined Lerners LLP where she is now a partner in its commercial litigation group. Jane has appeared as counsel before the Superior Court of Justice, the Ontario Court of Appeal and a number of administrative tribunals. She is a member of The Advocates' Society and has participated in numerous legal and professional education programs, including acting as an instructor in the Ontario Bar Admission Course. During the course of her career, Jane has authored numerous articles in her areas of practice, including a regular column in the Advocates’ Brief, in which she offers practical advice and guidance to newer lawyers on subjects relating to their areas of practice.

Jane can be contacted by telephone at 416-601-4128 or via e-mail at

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