4-Part Test Announced for Distinguishing Unpaid Sabbatical and Paid Vacation Leave

When can an unused paid sabbatical leave be taken by the employee as paid vacation leave upon termination? A California Court of Appeal provided an answer recently, adopting a four-part test for making that distinction under California law.

In the case before the court, after the employee resigned and did not receive any pay-out for his unused sabbatical, he filed a class action claiming that the sabbatical was the legal equivalent of extra vacation for long-term employees.

The court sent the case back to the trial court for further development of the record. Along the way, it established this four-part test for determing whether paid time off qualifies as a sabbatical and by extension  when paid time of must be treated as vacation.

The factors of this new test are: (1) frequency of the leave; (2) length of the leave; (3) whether the leave must be in addition to regular vacation; and (4) whether the leave must be for the purpose of enhancing the employee’s value as an employee upon his or her return to work.

To learn more, go here.

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