I'm wondering if floating holidays can be or are paid out to the employee when the company lays them off.

I had a previous job where I had unused floating holidays. The company laid me off before I was able to use them. I didn't think to ask about being compensated for the unused floaters but my old co-worker advised me that I could have asked. Is it true I could have asked for/demanded compensation?

  • How can I find this information?
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    You can always ask, but it's a matter of company policy, not a global rule. My employer doesn't pay these out (so we always always use the floaters first), but a past employer did for a layoff (not if you quit). Check with HR. Jan 15, 2013 at 22:29
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    Your question as asked has been closed as "too localized" because the right answer could only come from someone who knows your company. However, members here might be able to give you advice on how to reformulate your question if you'd like to know how best to ask or something more answerable.
    – Nicole
    Jan 16, 2013 at 3:37
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    @JeffO: Vacation days are compensation earned at a given rate (x hours of per y hours worked). Just as you don't get paid for Christmas Day holiday if you quit in August, a floating holiday isn't really creditable until you take the day off.
    – Blrfl
    Jan 16, 2013 at 13:47
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    Although the exact answer may be too-localized, the question itself is not too localized, and neither is the more broadly applicable answer that applies to all situations like this. I am voting to reopen this question.
    – Rachel
    Jan 16, 2013 at 16:56
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    I edited this question to be more appropriate for the StackExchange network. @SL, if this changes your intent too much let me know. The specific question is being discussed on the meta site here to ensure the format matches what The Workplace is looking for with questions.
    – enderland
    Jan 16, 2013 at 17:45

3 Answers 3


I had a previous job where I had unused floating holidays. The company laid me off before I was able to use them. I didn't think to ask about being compensated for the unused floaters but my old co-worker advised me that I could have asked. Is it true I could have asked for/demanded compensation?

Nearly every company will have a specific policy when it comes to unused holiday time when an employee is no longer working for the company. Some of these will be different depending on how vacation is accrued, what type of vacation/holiday it is, or terms of the employee leaving (quitting vs being laid off, etc).

For larger companies there is probably decent documentation on this subject written into a benefits document. For smaller companies it might be more nebulous.

If you are asking for a comprehensive "all encompassing" answer to this question you are not going to find it.

You can always ask about this sort of thing. You really don't have a whole lot to lose, either (unless you ask in a rude/unprofessional fashion) as it's not a significant amount of your time to ask.



Thanks everyone for your input. Also thanks for discussing this at the other Meta site. I think I worded my question incorrectly and I WAS expecting a one size fits all answer that I now realize I won't get. What I’m trying to ask is: is demanding/asking for compensation for floaters common knowledge by all? I personally didn't know to ask and I don't know how many other friends/family/colleagues know/don't know.

Perhaps my situation will clarify why I'm asking. Several yrs ago, I got laid off. When I started employment, we were given 2 floaters off the top. We could take them immediately (to my recollection).

After I got laid off, I checked my last paycheck and the numbers looked correct for my accrued vacation days and final wages. I didn’t think about asking for compensation for my floaters. I naively thought the company would automatically pay whatever’s owed to me and didn’t think to ask for/account for the floaters. Fast fwd a few yrs, this came up while talking with an old co-worker. He said I could have demanded it when I was laid off. If this is considered common knowledge, to demand pay for floaters, no one told me before, not HR, not friends, not parents.

Before posting this question on , I checked the CA employment laws


Since I work in CA, this is what it says: The way an employer’s policy defines personal days or floating holidays is critical to the issue of whether unused days must be paid out at the end of the employment relationship. Time off which is tied to a specific event is treated as a holiday and need not be paid out at termination. Time off which is not tied to a specific event must be treated the same as vacation time, which accrues and vests, and therefore must be paid out at termination.

Since these days were not tied to a specific event (my b-day, Pres. Day, etc.), it sounds like they should have paid it out to me. I don't know the policy from my previous company so I don't know if there was a clause they are using to not pay the floater.

The reason I asked on this site was to get a second opinion. I’m sorry again to have worded my question so poorly in the beginning. Thanks again for everyone's input and help in this matter. I now know to ask in the future =)

  • At my last job, the employee handbook clearly stated that floaters were NOT paid out when you left (for whatever reason). So there was no point in asking. Jan 17, 2013 at 0:30
  • @Thursdaysgeek - Apparently if you lived in Cali it would not matter what the policy is. Cali says that they will be treated like unused vacation days and must be paid if you request them. Jan 17, 2013 at 21:09

First, make sure any holidays in lieu or floating holidays are in writing. Send an E-mail to your boss making sure he or she realizes the outstanding holidays you have.

Second, as enderland says, know your company's policy/HR on floating holidays, particularly when your country's law is vague. Many countries require unused leave to be paid out when you leave. Some are less specific.

Third, take floating holidays or time in lieu. Letting leave accrue in many companies or countries is dangerous for just the reason you mention.

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