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Can you deny employees immediate vacation time?

You hire a new employee. However, it seems like it may not be a good fit after all when they come into your office during their first week on the job and ask to take some vacation time. You point out that your vacation plan tells them specifically that they cannot earn any paid time off for the initial six months with the company.

The employee is frustrated and tells you that you can't deny them vacation time. Is this true?

You do have that right under the law in California. According to the Department of Industrial Relations, the "enforcement policy does not preclude" you from setting up an official time period for new employees during which they can't get the same vacation benefits as employees who have been there for some time. You can do this, for example, if the employee is still in an introductory or probationary period.

This helps you in a lot of ways. Maybe you have the probationary period because you're not sure it's going to work out. The last thing you want is to pay for an employee with one week of work under their belt to then take an entire week of paid vacation, only to have to let them go shortly afterward. California law doesn't require employers to provide vacation time (either paid or unpaid).

That does not mean that such a policy will not cause conflicts with workers who want time off. Therefore, it's essential to make sure you know your legal rights as a California employer and exactly what you are and are not allowed to do.

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