Q: “Nobody has taken vacation time because there is nowhere to go. If things open at year-end, there will be a ton of accumulated vacation time. What to do? Legally, can you force people to take vacation and use it?”
May 5, 2020
A: There is a real concern that because of how COVID-19 has restricted travel and gatherings, employees have not been using their available vacation time and will flood employers with requests to use vacation time at the end of the year. The first step is to check your current policy for any requirements for approval of leave, how excess requests will be handled, and whether employees may be required to use their accrued vacation (which is generally permitted by law). If your policy does not have these provisions, consider updating your policy now, to avoid confusion at the end of the year. Some other strategies to consider include requiring employees to use some portion of their vacation while the office is closed, staggering vacation periods for the second half of the year, so you have appropriate coverage at all times, and allowing employees a one-time carryover of some or all accrued vacation so they can take it next year. The LP team is available to assist with reviewing and revising your policies and working through your options.