October 29, 2020

Former EY Employee Is Coping with the Loss of a Large Vacation Carryover Payout

A couple of weeks ago, on the same day Adrienne was writing her post based on a tip we received about a CPA exam taker’s missing FAR score, another tip came through the inbox:

My Big 4 firm is screwing me out of a hefty vacation carryover payout. I submitted my resignation 12/26, it was acknowledged, then I was told 1/3 that (due to new policy in place as of 4Q19) my carryover from 12/31 would not be paid out. HR refuses to retroact my resignation date and is not offering any concessions, despite my having been with the firm for almost 6 years.

I did a little investigative journalism (OK, I snooped on this person’s LinkedIn profile) and saw that they worked at EY. So I asked if EY was screwing everyone by silently putting this new policy in place without telling its employees, which we know accounting firms sometimes do. And accounting firms aren’t known for their transparency, especially around anything to do with pay. This person wrote back:

Up until 9/30/19, vacation was accrued from 10/1-9/30 (concurrent with the promotion year). At 10/1/19, however, vacation accrual was changed to follow the calendar year. This change was sent out via email and was mentioned during a broadcast, but there was no mention of impact on payout for those leaving the firm. My carryover was just under 200 hours.

Damn, that sucks.

On this person’s last day at EY, they sent a complaint letter to HR hoping to get the situation resolved. Here’s the letter (all names have been whitened out in the document):

Welp, unfortunately for the now-former EYer, the situation wasn’t resolved to their satisfaction. They told us:

I closed the loop with HR on Friday [Jan. 10] and they’ve taken no responsibility on failing to provide me complete communication. They took the position that as an employee, I should be aware of all HR policies (regardless of if/when they are relevant to me). I explained that if I had failed to provide a client such critical information, I’d be gone, and crickets.

So we were wondering, has anyone else who recently left EY been screwed over by not getting their vacation payout due to this new policy? And those of you who’ve made the switch from public accounting to industry, did you have any problems getting the money you were owed for the vacation time you accumulated at your firm before starting your new job? Leave any horror stories you have in the comments section. Or you can email us or send a text to our tipline using the contact information below.

UPDATE: Since posting this article on Thursday, we’ve heard from a few of ex-EYers who had similar situations as the person profiled in this article, one of whom told us:

I’ve lost/will lose 80+ hours of vacation what EY firmly said they won’t be paying it out to me. It’s almost 2 weeks and a paycheck. Unfortunately all I’m getting is roadblocks everywhere.

Another told us they were losing more than 200 hours of vacation time for which they wouldn’t be paid:

The only reasoning they give is this new vacation policy. I gave a 3 week notice because of the shutdown time (which I don’t get the point because they tell us to use our own vacation days for 2 days anyway). It REALLY SUCKS! I really wish something could be done about this.

We also heard from someone who recently left Deloitte. Same thing happened to them, but the outcome was much better for this person than the former EYers:

I handed over my resignation as a senior manager on 12/21 with last day of 12/31. I had 458 hours of PTO of which 218 was carried over from last year. I knew I would lose that as of Dec. 18 hence the reason for the 12/31 last day. But I was told 12/31 can’t be my last day since it’s a firm holiday. The alternative was for me to leave on 12/24 or lose 218 hours of PTO. That’s lot of money; more than $20k. But there was no way I can leave on 12/24 with all the client commitments and administrative things I need to complete. I have to wrap up two projects. I told the partners that I will lose the PTO and leave the firm on a good note. This is a small industry, everyone knows everyone. I don’t want to be the person who left two teams high and dry. So I made the last day Jan. 3rd.

To my surprise, the two partners I worked with went to firm leadership and got approval to payout the entire PTO balance.

Writing an angry letter to HR is not the answer and he/she should have researched the policy before giving notice. We are paid to know the facts and not knowing them is not an excuse to blame the firm and HR.

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