March 2, 2011 -- Professor Katherine Stone discussed a move by some law firms to offer nontraditional vacation policies. Her comments appear in an American Lawyer article.
There's no federal or state requirement that firms provide paid vacation, and if they do, they can structure it any way they like and can generally change their policies as they please, says labor and employment law expert Katherine Stone of the UCLA School of Law.
For firms that choose to provide paid vacations, Stone says, laws governing vacation policy vary from state to state. In California, for instance, employers cannot adopt the use-it-or-lose-it approach that many businesses utilize in other states, such as New York. But Stone says that firms are probably in the clear legally when it comes to the unlimited vacation policy because they most likely have no contractual obligation to provide paid vacation time on an accrual basis. ‘The lawyers would have to have an enforceable contractual commitment from the firm to pay for accrued unused vacation time,‘ Stone says. ‘I doubt they have that.‘
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