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Are you maxed out on vacation days?
Old 11-07-2011, 12:07 PM   #1
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Are you maxed out on vacation days?

I get a lot of vacations days from work - I've been with this company for a long time and the number of vacation days you get per year increases considerably over the years.

Majority of the people in our department have been working for this company for as many years as I have and are maxing out on their vacation days in our department. (You can only carry up to so many vacations hours.) Too busy to take vacations, they say, although the company as a whole tells people to take them.

I have a hard time maxing out and not using (it feels like I am throwing money away out the window), so I end up taking vacation days (like today) so I won't hit the max, but I work some (so I won't be bombarded with so much work the next day). I take but one day here and there instead of taking a week off and actually go somewhere. (Again, we are just too busy to do that right now... in fact it's been like that over a year with some major projects.)

Just wanted to see if this is a problem for many. Maybe I am just violating the "unspoken rules" somehow, but so far, I am trying not to hit the max...
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:15 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by tmm99 View Post
Majority of the people in our department have been working for this Just wanted to see if this is a problem for many. Maybe I am just violating the "unspoken rules" somehow, but so far, I am trying not to hit the max...
I get 8 weeks off a year (9 in 2012) and I use it all. I decided years ago that I would take 6 weeks off every summer, which is our quieter time. It's worked so far.
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:18 PM   #3
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What's a "vacation day"?

Yeah, as a retiree, you should have expected my response....
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:19 PM   #4
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My wife had accumulated well over the number of vacation days allowed by her company. Earlier this year, HR told her to start taking more time off, but her work load did not allow it. So DW asked them if they would buy back some of her vacation days. She traded 6 weeks of vacation for a nice amount of cash... But she is almost maxed out again...
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:26 PM   #5
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My DH has to use them or lose them each year, so he takes them. I have as many as I'm willing to ask for, so that doesn't really apply to me. I'll be taking 4 weeks starting at Christmas, so it will make it harder for me to ask for more time later next year, but I probably will still ask!
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:33 PM   #6
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My wife had accumulated well over the number of vacation days allowed by her company. Earlier this year, HR told her to start taking more time off, but her work load did not allow it. So DW asked them if they would buy back some of her vacation days. She traded 6 weeks of vacation for a nice amount of cash... But she is almost maxed out again...
I once had a similar problem until the CEO called me aside and said, "If you can't manage your own vacation, what does that say about your management ability?"

From that point on I found a way to take every vacation day I earned...
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:38 PM   #7
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DW's company told her she can't take vacation during the last week of the month all year. Some companies are jerks about it. So, that eliminates 12 weeks a year we could go do anything together. Wonder where that is stated in the employee handbook..........
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:48 PM   #8
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When I worked in corporate finance I learned why unused vacation is a problem. When people do not take vacation the business must accrue the expense, and when their salary increases the accrued expense needs to increases as well. This is an expense charged to the P&L that would not be so if the employee took the vacation days - and for most salaried workers, when they take vacation their workload is just spread around (like fertilizer). Hence the pressure to take days.

In addition, auditors always look for employees that do not take vacations - these are areas of potential fraud. Employees cannot risk someone else doing their job if they are embezzling or stealing so they never miss a day.
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:51 PM   #9
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My DH has to use them or lose them each year.....
I am a strong proponent of the "use vacation or lose it" approach. When my employer enacted that policy, we all found a way to take the time. There was actually a positive culture change. Without the excuse that vacation could just be accumulated until later, or paid in cash later, the guilt of taking time off when others were extremely busy vanished.

Additionally, as a manager, I found that the instances of folks asking for "personal days" (a day off for some reason like needing to be home for a delivery, etc.) decreased. With no ability to accumulate vacation days for future time off or to be paid in cash, folks just took vacation days to handle these personal issues and didn't need to worry about doing any work at home that day.
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Old 11-07-2011, 01:03 PM   #10
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I'm retired, but when I was w*rking, I got 5 weeks a year. I'm proud to say that I never gave back a single day, though I'm sure it hurt me in my career. The culture there was to not take all of your vacation and tell anyone that would listen about it at the end of the year.
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Old 11-07-2011, 01:20 PM   #11
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I once had a similar problem until the CEO called me aside and said, "If you can't manage your own vacation, what does that say about your management ability?"

From that point on I found a way to take every vacation day I earned...
At DW's company, the "speech" can be reduced to:

Quote:
We are very proud to offer our employees very competitive benefits including 20 paid vacation days per year. Please enjoy those benefits. But... now is never not a good time. Remember, everyone is replaceable.
Even when DW can take a few days, she has to be on call 24/7. The only real vacation she gets is when the company shuts down for a holiday.

Nonetheless, I always make sure DW takes all the vacation days beyond what she can roll over to the next year. I wouldn't want her to leave anything on the table.
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Old 11-07-2011, 01:24 PM   #12
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Even when DW can take a few days, she has to be on call 24/7. The only real vacation she gets is when the company shuts down for a holiday.
One of the many perks of having a big-time position is you are in charge - always.

Being a junior birdman does have some advantages...
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Old 11-07-2011, 01:41 PM   #13
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I worked very very hard to make sure that when I took leave, nobody missed me. It's not fair to take leave when you know that the XO is getting ready to dump a big project on your desk.

But you still have to train people to be able to sit in your chair and answer the boss's questions when you're on leave. And you have to train your bosses to be able to get over their subordinate dependency. If they don't value you enough to let you take your vacation days... then they won't value you enough when life really gets tough.

Having said that, the only time I let my leave balance drift up was just before retirement, when I managed to string it all together for the max 100 days of pre-retirement leave.
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Old 11-07-2011, 01:42 PM   #14
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We always use ours before we lose them. Plenty of people I worked with had to do the same. Comes with an interesting job I guess. Or maybe it's just difficult to interrupt the rhythm. DW likes to take the month of December off, as a minimum. Lots of vacation, but she can only carry over 40 hours at the end of the year.
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Old 11-07-2011, 02:48 PM   #15
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A lot of people lose their days since there is a maximum carryover from year to year. I don't understand their mindset.

I have a low leave balance now, but working to build it up a bit. I used a lot in support of my daughter's school and am operating as custodial parent. I could use more time off, for myself, but am OK with using it to support the kid.
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Old 11-07-2011, 03:52 PM   #16
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That is a constant pressure point here. After 36 years with the same little law firm, I think 6 or so weeks of vacation a year is comparable to most other industries. The one guy older than me is up to about 8 weeks this year and I'm at about 5 weeks and 2 or 3 days. Our younger partners don't like it one bit and seem to take 2 to 3 weeks a year. When times are good, it doesn't matter. When times are tight, it does matter.

And no, we have no actual vacation policy for the partners. For staff it is 2 weeks vacation, 10 personal days, and an extra day of vacation time for each year in service after a certain time, maxing out at 4 weeks. They get more time off than most of us! And they get paid every week! Sweet.
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:00 PM   #17
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We constantly have to tell our people to take more time off. But it is kind of difficult to tell your people that, when the boss has 60 days of unused leave.
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:00 PM   #18
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I found that the instances of folks asking for "personal days" (a day off for some reason like needing to be home for a delivery, etc.) decreased.
That's where many of my vacation days went.... hour by hour. We had to use vacation time for any personal time off for things like getting the car repaired, the plumber, and so on.
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:05 PM   #19
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.......... They get more time off than most of us! And they get paid every week! Sweet.
Maybe you could get a job on the staff.
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:20 PM   #20
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I'm retired, but when I was w*rking, I got 5 weeks a year. I'm proud to say that I never gave back a single day, though I'm sure it hurt me in my career. The culture there was to not take all of your vacation and tell anyone that would listen about it at the end of the year.
That seems to be the culture where I work, but I am taking vacation days anywa, although I end up working some and I am always accessible when needs arise. It is hard to not justify it (at least in my head because other people are allowing themselves to lost their days off) that I not only deserve days off, but I need them.

But I am glad to hear that most people here actually use their vacation days.
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