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Posted: 2/14/2006 10:22:14 AM EDT
I worked for the .gov for 9 months under a contractor. During my last month I took a one week vacation using the hours I had beleived I accrued. Two weeks afterwards I quit the job and received my final paycheck. Several days later I got an email stating that I owed them $400 for going over my vacation hours. I asked them several questions including why they did not deduct that amount from my final paycheck and why they did not give me vacation time for my final month. They replied something about the system not showing I was in the red for vacation yadda yadda yadda and that I was not going to get that months vacation time because my last day was on a friday and January ended on tuesday.

I also asked why my expected vacation hours were vastly different from the vacation hours they had on record. Unknown to me they automatically deduct vacation time if they show you did not work the required hours for that month to which I had several occurences of. The reason being sometimes I worked a shift schedual where I would would be short one month (depending on how many days I worked the last week of the month) and be over slightly the next month. They said the shortage was all that mattered and the overage for the next month would not compensate for it. So basically the system only works for them and does not average out between months.

My question is: Am I under any leagal obligation to pay them $400 after they cut my final paycheck? Especially seeing how I am most likely covered for hours throughout my employment there?

-Foxxz
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:26:40 AM EDT
I would say the following:

"I recieved my final paycheck from you for the services I rendered.
It is not my fault that the accounting department did not deduct the monies
that you claim you are owed. It is not my fault that the accounting department
is not in compliance with your policies and, proceedures. I will not be paying you
one cent, and, I will seek legal counsel if you or any representetives contact me again.
If you are in need of these funds, I suggest you contact the payroll clerk in the Accounting department. Thank you. Good day."
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:30:52 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/14/2006 10:31:07 AM EDT by Grunteled]
If they didn't deduct it from your final paycheck then I'd tell them to pound sand.

I would doubt you are under any legal obligation to return money they paid you at the termination of your employment. Every company I have known that let you take vacation before it was really on the books for you, took it from the final check if you quit.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:31:28 AM EDT
Keep a copy of your records and write a full account of what you believed to be the case. If they want th money, they have to either get you to give it to them voluntarily or take you to court. If you go to court, your papers should be in order. If you don't believe you owe it to them, you're not likely to pay it voluntarily. The burden is on them to convince you otherwise.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:31:55 AM EDT
If they are a government contractor, they probably have to abide by rules of how they pay you.

(maybe not, but I've been told they do)

One of the rules is, you earn vacation days as you work.
You are not given vacation days in advance of expected work.

If you were given vacation days, as listed on your pay stubs, then they are yours.
They can't just take them back.

You should be able to look through your records, and find out for sure if they made a mistake,
or if they are just trying to screw you over.

Either way, I doubt you have to pay them back.
But at least if you can prove you don't owe them anything,
you have some leverage.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:32:09 AM EDT
you have to read the fine print with gov jobs...they can penalize for petty things and interest is high...
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:35:21 AM EDT
I think its an accounting error on their side. I wanna tell them they should seek the money from their payroll person.

-Foxxz
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:39:09 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Foxxz:
I think its an accounting error on their side. I wanna tell them they should seek the money from their payroll person.

-Foxxz



Prove it is an error on their side, or pay them back our tax money.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:42:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By R-32:

Originally Posted By Foxxz:
I think its an accounting error on their side. I wanna tell them they should seek the money from their payroll person.

-Foxxz



Prove it is an error on their side, or pay them back our tax money.



Here's the thing. They are going to bill the government for ALL the hours I worked including a bunch of EXTRA hours I put in. However, even if I put in an extra 20-40 hours some months I don't see an extra cent. So the taxpayers' money is already gone. We are just talking about a company trying to grub extra at this point. I'm going home tonight and add up the hours I was expected to work and the hours I did work (which I beleive to be fairly higher) and I'll make my decision based on that.

-Foxxz
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:58:02 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Foxxz:
SNIP...

I also asked why my expected vacation hours were vastly different from the vacation hours they had on record. Unknown to me they automatically deduct vacation time if they show you did not work the required hours for that month to which I had several occurences of. The reason being sometimes I worked a shift schedual where I would would be short one month (depending on how many days I worked the last week of the month) and be over slightly the next month. They said the shortage was all that mattered and the overage for the next month would not compensate for it. So basically the system only works for them and does not average out between months.

SNIP....

-Foxxz



Okay, when you had "a month" where you were "over" do you mean exceeded 40 hours in any single work week?

There is no "standard month". Everything should be based on a 40-hour workweek. Did you ever work more than 40 hours in a single workweek?

If "yes", were you paid overtime (time and a half) for those hours in excess of 40?

If "no" and you can prove it (your copies of your time sheet for example, or pay stubs), go immediately to see the nearest office of the Wage and Hour Division of ot UNITED STATES (Federal) Department of Labor. They enforce the labor provisions of the Service Contract Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The Wage and Hour Division can also examine your former employer's methodology for accruing vacation hours and see if it meets the standard in the SCA and the FLSA (I'll bet it doesn't - under the SCA you get 80 hours on the 366th day after you start working).

Plus I'll bet the way they handled holidays and holiday pay is screwed up too (it always is).

Your former employer is probably going to have to cut you a check. But, they can't do shit unless you go to them.

Many government contractors pull all kinds of shennaigans to avoid paying overtime, etc. They count on you not going to USDOL W&H because of 'loyalty to the work', etc. That's how companies like a certain well-known security firm get people to work as "independent contractors" when they are, in fact, employees. The "IC" scam keeps their bottom line low, but its a house of cards.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 11:04:00 AM EDT
And if your former employer is billing for your hours, then you were an hourly employee under the Service Contract Act (its almost impossible for you to have been "exempt" if you were performing hourly).

Did they pay you as an hourly employee? If they didn't, USDOL W&H is going to make their lives miserable (and they should).

This sounds like a "time and material" contract.

If they are invoicing for hours and not compensating you for those hours, then they have a USDOL W&H issue AND a invoicing fraud issue with the agency they have a contract with. If its DOD, the Defense Contract Audit Agency is going to want to hear about this (they have to show where they paid you to be able to invoice for those hours).
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