Tuesday, May 13, 2008

General Assembly Severely Limits Employees' Rights to Accrued Vacation Pay Upon Termination

The Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law defines wages as including fringe benefits. Many plaintiffs' employment lawyers, like myself, argued that vacation pay is a fringe benefit earned just like any other wage. In August 2007, the Court of Special Appeals agreed with us ruling in Catapult v. Wolfe, that promised vacation constitutes a wage under the Law. Catapult was an important decision for Maryland employees. It gave them the right to sue to recover earned vacation pay and, possibly, three times the amount actually owed under the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law.

Employers were not happy with the Catapult decision. In a show of political force, the business lobby pushed through Senate Bill 797 as "emergency legislation.: The bill allows employers to require that their employee forfeit accrued vacation if the employer has a written policy to that effect. The Bill's fiscal note show that its intent is to undo Catapult.

The Governor signed the bill into law.

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