In Louisiana, employers are not required to provide employees with vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide such benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.
An employer cannot refuse to pay accrued or earned vacation to employees upon separation from employment merely because they were terminated, regardless of the reason. See Beard v. Summit Institute of Pulmonary Medicine, 707 So.2d 1233 (La. Sup. Ct. 1998).
Accrued or earned vacation must be paid to an employee upon separation from employment if the company policy or employment contract is silent on the matter. See Beard v. Summit Institute of Pulmonary Medicine, 707 So.2d 1233 (La. Sup. Ct. 1998).
Louisiana courts are split regarding whether an employer can refuse to pay an employee accrued or earned vacation upon separation from employment if the employee fails to comply with certain conditions, such as giving two weeks notice. See e.g., Beard v. Summit Institute of Pulmonary Medicine, 707 So.2d 1233 (La. Sup. Ct. 1998) (Supreme Court refused to explicitly state any restriction on payment of wages upon separation from employment was unlawful, but cited favorably to those cases that do); Lee v. Katz and Bestoff, Inc., 479 So.2d 459 (La. App. 1st Cir. 1985) (employer cannot place restrictions on employees to receive payment for accrued vacation). Contra., e.g., Huddleston v. Dillard Department Store, 638 So.2d 383 (La. App. 5th Cir. 1994) and Landry v. Pauli’s, Inc., 496 So.2d 431 (La. App. 5th Cir. 1986) (employers can place restrictions on employees when paying out accrued vacation upon separation from employment).
An employer may cap the amount of vacation leave an employee may accrue over time. See Wyatt v. Avoyelles Parish School Board, 831 So.2d 906 (La. Sup. Ct. 2002); Beard v. Summit Institute of Pulmonary Medicine, 707 So.2d 1233 (La. Sup. Ct. 1998).
An employer may implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy requiring employees to use their leave by a set date or lose it. See Wyatt v. Avoyelles Parish School Board, 831 So.2d 906 (La. Sup. Ct. 2002).
Louisiana law does not require employers to provide employees with sick leave benefits, either paid or unpaid. An employer in Louisiana may be required to provide an employee unpaid sick leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.
Louisiana law does not require private employers to provide employees with either paid or unpaid holiday leave. In Louisiana, a private employer can require an employee to work holidays.
A private employer does not have to pay an employee premium pay, such as 1½ times the regular rate, for working on holidays, unless such time worked qualifies the employee for overtime under standard overtime laws. If an employer chooses to provide either paid or unpaid holiday leave, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.
Visit our Louisiana State Holidays page for a list of holidays recognized and observed by the state of Louisiana as well as information regarding state laws governing holiday leave for public employers and employees.
Jury Duty Leave
Louisiana prohibits an employer from discharging or taking any other adverse employment action against an employee for being called to serve or serving jury duty, so long as the employee gives the employer reasonable notice of the jury obligation after receiving the summons.
Employers who unlawfully discharge employees for serving jury duty may be subject to fines of not less than $100 and not more than $1,000, for each discharge and may be ordered to reinstate the employee with the same wage rate and benefits they enjoyed prior to the discharge. LA Statute 23:965.
When employees are called or subpoenaed to serve on a state petit or grand jury, or central jury pool, the employer is required to pay up to one (1) days wages and the employee cannot be required to take any vacation, sick, or other accrued personal leave while responding to the call or subpoena.
Employers who unlawfully discharge employees for serving jury duty may be subject to fines of not less than $100 and not more than $1,000, for each discharge and may be ordered to pay the employee one day’s wages without reduction in vacation, sick, or other personal leave. LA Statute 23:965.
Louisiana does not have a law that requires an employer to grant its employees leave, either paid or unpaid, to vote.
Louisiana law does not require employers to provide employees bereavement leave or leave to attend funerals. Bereavement leave is leave that is taken by an employee due to the death of another individual, usually a close relative. Employers may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice they maintain.
Family and Medical Leave
Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employees are entitled to 12 weeks of leave per 12 months.
Employers must offer this time off if they have a staff consisting of 50+ employees for a minimum of 20 weeks annually. Also, employees’ leave renews every 12 months as long as they meet specific eligibility requirements.
The criteria for receiving medical leave under the FMLA include:
- You have worked for the company for a minimum of 12 months.
- You have worked at least 1250 hours for the company during the previous year.
- You work at a location with a minimum of 50 employees within 75 miles.
It’s important to note military families receive additional benefits under the FMLA. If you take leave to care for a service member, you receive 26 weeks of unpaid time off per 12 months. This allotment of leave is provided per servicemember per injury.
Louisiana labor laws do not require employers to provide employees with parental leave.
Parents can take parental leave under the federal FMLA. In these instances, you’ll receive the same benefits (12 weeks of leave per 12 months) for parenting, pregnancy, and childbirth.
It’s important to note this time off is unpaid. However, employers can develop individual guidelines to offer additional benefits to employees on parental leave. Employers must follow guidelines laid out in company policies and employment contracts.
Married employees under the same employer receive 12 weeks of FMLA parenting benefits combined. Alternatively, unmarried couples will receive 12 weeks of parenting benefits separately.
Military members in Louisiana are entitled to the same benefits that the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) offers, including:
- Employees have the right to continue group healthcare benefits for 24 months of their leave.
- Upon return, employees must be reinstated to the same (or equivalent) previously held position.
- Employees must receive up to five years of unpaid leave for military service (with exceptions).
Louisiana also has additional benefits to consider with their military leave, similar to Louisiana sick leave laws. Members of the state militia, Louisiana National Guard, or any state military branch receive unpaid leave after service completion. Employers must provide employees the same or comparable position upon returning to their employment.
Additionally, employees must report to their employer within 72 hours of recovery or release from service-related injuries. Otherwise, they could risk losing their place of employment.
Finally, employers cannot threaten or discriminate against their employees due to military-related obligations.