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Can I negotiate my vacation and sick time as pay as part of a severance if I am terminated?

It depends what your companies policies are.  Minnesota law does not give you the right to “cash in” your unused vacation or sick time when you leave employment. The companies that do have a policy regarding payment for unused leave usually make a distinction between employees who leave voluntarily, those who are laid off, and those who are fired for misconduct. If your employer’s policy provides for payment of leave, and you are accused of misconduct, you will either have to negotiate with your employer for payment or sue in court for “breach of contract.” No statute or case law in Minnesota mandates the terms on which paid time off must be offered, or that it be offered at all. Liability as to vacation-pay rights is wholly contractual.  Therefore, employers are permitted to set conditions that employees must meet in order to exercise their earned right to vacation time with pay. For example, employers may require employees to request in advance and be granted employer permission to use paid time off. Presumably this is done so that employees are not absent from work at particularly busy times or so that multiple employees are not taking time off concurrently, thereby harming or disabling the employer’s ability to function.

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