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Sabbatical program did not qualify as vacation

There was insufficient evidence to show that sabbatical program by the employer did not, under the Labor Code, qualify as vacation.

On August 5, 2011, in Paton v. Advanced Micro Devices Inc., (California Courts of Appeal – 6th District, No. H034618) the employer (Advanced Micro Devices Inc.) had an eight week sabbatical program available to eligible employee who had worked over seven years. However, the policy stated that if this time was not used prior to employment being terminated, the leave was forfeited. Paton contended that under Labor Code Section 227.3 the time could not be forfeited as it was simply extra vacation time. The employer contended it was not extra vacation time. The employer filed for summary judgment, which was granted by the district court.

The court noted that under the Labor Code a sabbatical to be exempt the following three things are required: it must be granted infrequently, it must be longer than normal vacation, and granted in addition to normal vacation. The court found that the evidence for the sabbatical program was not conclusive to show it did not constitute a vacation but that it had some of the same elements. Therefore a material question of fact remained and summary judgment was improper.

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