Myth: The law requires that my employer provide paid time off for vacation.

FACT: Federal law does not require payment for time not worked, such as vacations. These benefits are generally a matter of agreement between an employer and an employee.

Similarly, Wisconsin employers are not required to grant vacations to their workers, whether with pay or without. Such matters are determined entirely by written or unwritten agreements between the employer and the employee. However, where such benefits have been agreed upon, unpaid vacation time may be claimed as part of a wage claim with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Labor Standards Bureau.

Myth: The law requires that my employer pay me for holidays on which I do not work.

FACT: Federal law does not require payment for time not worked, such as holidays, federal or otherwise. These benefits are generally a matter of agreement between an employer and an employee.

Similarly, Wisconsin employers are not required to pay employees for holidays.1 Such matters are determined entirely by written or unwritten agreements between the employer and the employee. However, where such benefits have been agreed upon, unpaid holidays may be claimed as part of a wage claim with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Labor Standards Bureau.

Additional pay, or “holiday pay,” for working on a holiday is also not required by state or federal law but if the employer and employee have agreed on such a benefit, the employer’s failure to honor the agreement which results in unpaid wages may be claimed as part of a wage claim.

Myth: The law requires that my employer provide paid sick time.

FACT: Federal law does not provide for any paid sick time. If an employer is subject to the Family Medical Leave Act (has more than 50 employees), an employee may be entitled to FMLA leave for up to 12 weeks. However this time is not required to be paid.

Similarly, Wisconsin law does not mandate that employers provide paid sick time. In 2008, Milwaukee voters approved the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance which would have required large businesses in Milwaukee to provide 9 paid sick days per year and small businesses to provide 5 paid sick days per year. The law was challenged and eventually voided when Governor Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 23 in May 2011. The Wisconsin Medical Family Leave Act does allow employees to take up to 6 weeks of unpaid time off in a 12 month period.

If you or someone you know has a question about pay practices or other employment issues, contact Hawks Quindel, S.C.

1 Exempt employees who are paid a salary generally receive the same amount of pay every month regardless of how many hours they work. Therefore, even in months that include company closures for holidays, with certain exceptions, exempt salaried employees will receive the same amount of pay, even if they do not work on the holidays. This is not an indication that employees are being paid for holidays. It is a function of the type of salary they receive.

Summer Murshid

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