PTO, Vacation, & Sick Leave 

Payout Requirements by State - The HR Guide

Stay on top of the latest requirements for your specific state and industry with HR for Health. 

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Keep Up with the Latest Regulations

Learn about the latest regulations for PTO, Vacation, and Sick Leave. We'll walk you through which states have an accrual cap and answer "Can unused hours be forfeited at the end of the benefit year?" Find out by checking out your state below.

Payout by State

PTO, Vacation, & Sick Leave Payout Requirements by State

Accrual Cap | Unused Hours | Forfeiture & Benefits

Scroll down, find your state, and click to expand to read about the latest payout requirements for your individual state. Don't see your state listed? That means payout requirements are not applicable to your state. Have questions about this? Head to our Help Page to Contact Us.

Alaska

Accrual Cap 

N/A

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"Likely no, as vacation pay is a vested right.
Pyramid Printing Co. v. Alaska State Comm'n for Human Rights, 153 P.3d 994 (Alaska 2007) (court stated that vacation pay is earned through labor, not gifted)"

California

Accrual Cap 

"Yes, but the cap must be reasonable.
Boothby v. Atlas Mech., Inc., 6 Cal. App. 4th 1595 (1992)"

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"No. In general, a policy cannot require forfeiture of accrued vacation (and leave that is treated like vacation, e.g., PTO).
However, exceptions apply for collective bargaining agreements and leaves that are not treated like vacation (e.g., sick pay).
Cal. Lab. Code § 227.3"

Colorado

Accrual Cap

N/A

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

CO now considers vacation wages (this would include PTO) earned and cannot be forfeited.

"In the case, Nieto v. Clark's Mkt., Inc., 2021 CO 48, 488 P.3d 1140, 2021 Colo. LEXIS 423, 2021 WL 2414327 (June 14, 2021), the court disallowed "use it or lose it" vacation policies."

District of Columbia

Accrual Cap 

N/A

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"Yes
Nat'l Rifle Asso. v. Ailes, 428 A.2d 816 (D.C. 1981)"

Illinois

Accrual Cap 

"Likely yes.
Witkowski v. St. Anne's Hosp., Inc., 447 N.E.2d 1016 (1983) (court upheld vacation accrual cap when addressing payout at termination)"

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"Yes, if employer provides employees with notice and a reasonable opportunity to use vacation days.
56 Ill. Adm. Code 300.520"

Indiana

Accrual Cap 

N/A

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"Yes
Comm'r of Labor ex rel. Shofstall v. Int'l Union of Painters, 991 N.E.2d 100 (Ind. 2013)"

Kansas

Accrual Cap 

N/A

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"Yes
Mid Am. Aerospace, Inc. v. Dep't of Human Res., 694 P.2d 1321 (Kan. Ct. App. 1985)"

Louisiana

Accrual Cap 

"Likely yes.
Bodenheimer v. Carrollton Pest Control & Termite Co., 2018 La. App. LEXIS 233 (La. Ct. App. 2018) (while not endorsing a cap on accrual, the court described a vacation cap as one valid interpretation of an at-issue provision in employment contract)"

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"Yes, unless the employer prevents employees from using vacation.
Fontenot v. Ryder Truck Rental, Inc., 869 So. 2d 330 (La. Ct. App. 2004)"

Maine

Accrual Cap 

"Likely yes.
Richardson v. Winthrop Sch. Dep't, 983 A.2d 400 (Me. 2009) (court upheld cap on paying out vacation when employment ended)"

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"Yes
Snow v. Borden, Inc., 802 F. Supp. 550 (D. Me. 1992)"

Massachusetts

Accrual Cap 

"Yes
Massachusetts Attorney General's Fair Labor Division on Vacation Policies, Advisory 99/1"

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"Yes, if notice is provided and the employee is given a reasonable opportunity to use vacation days.
Elec. Data Sys. Corp. v. AG, 907 N.E.2d 635 (Mass. 2009)"

Minnesota

Accrual Cap 

"Yes
Lee v. Fresenius Med. Care, Inc., 741 N.W.2d 117 (Minn. 2007)"

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"Yes
Lee v. Fresenius Med. Care, Inc., 741 N.W.2d 117 (Minn. 2007)"

Montana

Accrual Cap 

"Yes, if the restriction is reasonable.
Langager v. Crazy Creek Prods., 954 P.2d 1169 (Mont. 1998)"

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"No
Montana Department of Labor and Industry, Wage and Hour FAQs"

New York

Accrual Cap 

"Likely yes.
Spencer v. Christ Church Day Care Ctr., 280 A.D.2d 817 (App. Div. 2001) (court upheld cap on payout of accrued vacation)"

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"Yes
Grisetti v. Super Value, Inc., 189 Misc. 2d 800 ( App. Term 2001)"

North Carolina

Accrual Cap 

N/A

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"Yes, if the policy is in writing and employees are notified of the policy.
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 95-25.12; 13 N.C. Admin. Code § 12.0306; 13 N.C. Admin. Code § 12.0805"

North Dakota

Accrual Cap 

"Likely yes.
Aasmundstad v. Dickinson State Coll., 337 N.W.2d 792 (N.D. 1983) (court allowed cap on payout of annual leave)"

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"Yes, if notice is provided and the employee is given a reasonable opportunity to use vacation days.
N.D. Admin. Code 46-02-07-02"

Ohio

Accrual Cap 

N/A 

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"Yes
Stanovic v. Nat'l City Corp., 1998 Ohio App. LEXIS 3408 (Ct. App. 1998)"

Pennsylvania

Accrual Cap 

"Likely yes.
Hamilton v. Air Jamaica, Ltd., 750 F. Supp. 1259 (E.D. Pa. 1990) (court allowed cap on vacation carryover)"

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"Likely yes.
Hamilton v. Air Jamaica, Ltd., 750 F. Supp. 1259 (E.D. Pa. 1990) (court allowed cap on vacation carryover)"

Rhode Island

Accrual Cap 

"Likely yes.
Dicenso v. Newport Sch. Comm., 2013 R.I. Super. LEXIS 192 (R.I. Super. Ct. 2013) (court allowed cap on vacation payout)"

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"Likely yes.
City of Cent. Falls v. Cent. Falls Fire Fighters, Local 1485, 2002 R.I. Super. LEXIS 131 (R.I. Super. Ct. 2002) (court analyzed vacation policy and did not disapprove of use-it-or-lose-it provision)"

Tennessee

Accrual Cap 

"Yes
Jackson v. Jackson, Johnson & Murphey, P.C., 2003 Tenn. App. LEXIS 946 ( Ct. App. 2003)"

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"Yes
Vraney v. Med. Specialty Clinic, P.C., 2013 Tenn. App. LEXIS 587 ( Ct. App. 2013)"

Texas

Accrual Cap 

N/A

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"Yes
40 Tex. Admin. Code § 821.25"

Washington

Accrual Cap 

"Likely yes.
Baker v. Aero. Machinists Indus. Dist. Lodge 751, 1999 Wash. App. LEXIS 3817 ( Ct. App. 1999) (court enforced cap on payout of accrued vacation)"

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"Likely yes.
Lapo v. Avalon Music, Inc., 2001 Wash. App. LEXIS 1156 (Ct. App.  2001) (court held that where there was no employment agreement that specifically provided for extra compensation or pay in lieu of vacation time, employee received no payout)"

West Virginia

Accrual Cap 

"Likely yes.
Meadows v. Wal-Mart Stores, 530 S.E.2d 676 (W. Va. 1999) (court found that employer's policy, not state law, governed payment of fringe benefits, including vacation, so would likely approve a cap on vacation accrual)"

Can Unused Hours Be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"Likely yes.
Meadows v. Wal-Mart Stores, 530 S.E.2d 676 (W. Va. 1999) (court found that employer's policy, not state law, governed payment of fringe benefits, including vacation, so would likely approve a use-it-or-lose-it policy)"

Wyoming

Accrual Cap

N/A

Can Unused Hours be Forfeited at the End of the Benefit Year?

"Yes, if employees have a full opportunity to use vacation days and the employer has not refused a request to use vacation.
Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, Frequently Asked Questions (Labor Standards)"

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