North Dakota – Leave Laws



Vacation Leave

In North Dakota, an employer is not required to provide its 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.

In North Dakota, an employer is required to pay employees who are terminated by the employer for accrued or earned vacation leave upon separation from employment. If the the vacation leave is not yet earned, an employer is not required to pay the employee for vacation leave if the employer has provided the employee written notice of the limitation. ND Admin. Code 46-02-07-02(12); ND Dept. of Labor and Human Rights – Minimum Wage Poster.

An employer is required to pay to pay employees who have voluntarily resigned from employment for all accrued vacation leave unless the conditions are met:

  • At the time of hiring, the employer provided the employee written notice of the limitation on payment of accrued paid time off;
  • The employee has been employed by the employer for less than one year; and
  • The employee gave the employer less than five days’ written or verbal notice.

ND Dept. of Labor and Human Rights – Minimum Wage Poster

An employer may lawfully cap the vacation leave an employee can accrued over time. See ND Admin. Code 46-02-07-02(12).

An employer may lawfully implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy requiring employees to use their leave by a set date or lose it, so long as the employer has properly notified its employees of the vacation policy and the employee has a reasonable opportunity to use the vacation leave. ND Admin. Code 46-02-07-02(12).

All paid leave is considered vacation leave, unless the employer explicitly divides vacation leave from sick or other types of leave, such as paid time off (PTO). ND Admin. Code 46-02-07-02(12).


Sick Leave

North Dakota law does not require employers to provide employees with sick leave benefits, either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide sick leave benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.

An employer in North Dakota may be required to provide an employee unpaid sick leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.


Holiday Leave

North Dakota law does not require private employers to provide employees with either paid or unpaid holiday leave. In North Dakota, 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.

State holidays

Visit our North Dakota State Holidays page for a list of holidays recognized and observed by the state of North Dakota as well as information regarding state laws governing holiday leave for public employers and employees.


Jury Duty Leave

An employer is not required to pay an employee for time spent responding to a jury summons or serving on a jury.

An employer may not discharge, lay off, penalize, threaten, or otherwise coerce an employee, because the employee receives and/or responds to a summons, serves as a juror, or attends court for jury service.

ND Statute 27-9.1-17


Voting Leave

North Dakota law “encourages” employers to establish a program to allow employee to be absent for the purpose of voting if their work schedules conflicts with voting during the time polls are open. This is voluntary for employers. There is no guaranteed right to be absent. ND Statute 16.1-01-2.1


Bereavement Leave

North Dakota law does not require employers to provide employee bereavement leave. Bereavement leave is leave that is taken by an employee due to the death of another individual, usually a close relative. Employer may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice it maintains.


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