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Vacation days leftover at FIRE
Old 03-18-2010, 09:00 AM   #1
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Vacation days leftover at FIRE

DW gave 3 months notice after the first of the year. She has five weeks of vacation earned from last year. Other retiring employees were allowed to use these days after their last work day to have their retirement date for pension calculations etc five weeks later.

Her local HR function says she cannot do that, it must be payed out after the last day worked, which changes all the pension calculations to the favor of the company. When she told them she would the take her vacation and come back for one last day, they said you cannot take that much vacation at one time.

MEGA_MEGA corporation has no written policy on either of these issues, vacation payout or length of vacation allowed.

DW is now taking a weeks vacation earlier and intends to take 4 weeks at the end after two weeks of training her replacement.

Has anyone else experienced this type of treatment and have any advice?

Everyday she comes home feeling worse than the day before. I think her boss just tries to twist the knife more each day.

DW has 35 years in and is in a senoir management person. After six years under her current supervisor, early retirement was what she was working for the last five years. Now she realizes she should have given less notice.
She feels shunned and is asked to leave meetings that she has always participated in for ten years at this facility.
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:04 AM   #2
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If this doesn't significantly change the pension payout I'd just use that as more motivation and satisfaction to get out of that environment.
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:10 AM   #3
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When I was laid off from mh j*b, mega corp would not pay me for unused vacation time. I had almost 5 weeks vacation, so that really sucked. I can't offer you any advice, but I'm under the impression that unless you have something in writing, your employer can make up whatever rules they like.
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:23 AM   #4
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When I retired, I got paid for my 5 weeks vacation after I left. I was hoping to sweep it into my 401(k), but could not. In my case, the vacation pay wouldn't affect my pension in any meaningful way. I was so glad to be out of there, it was just gravy, for me.
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:29 AM   #5
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Our company would pay us for up to 7 weeks of unused vacation. I had 8. So I delayed my retirement date by a week, took a week off one week before retiring. This gave both of us a week "practice" - me at being retired, and work at running things without me. When I returned for the final week it was all about wrapping things up. I think it really helped the transition.

It's too bad your wife is being treated badly. But in terms of staying out of meetings etc. - I was delighted to do that. It's probably just as well she get used to not participating. She is moving on, and they are trying to deal with it. Not graciously, it appears. But hopefully this should make her feel better about leaving.

At this point, the best a career professional can do is just close things as cleanly as possible and not worry about anything else.

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P.S. It kind of sounds like she wasn't quite ready to let go?
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:35 AM   #6
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What a mess. Sorry to hear this is how DW is begin treated.

My only comment would be in lieu of any written policy, DW could do a written and very date specific request for using up the vacation time while still on the company's books.
Send the request to the immediate supervisor AND the next supervisor up the chain, with a courtesy copy to HR, all at the same time. Email would be OK as long as DW prints out a copy of the sent mail for her records.
Upon receiving the request, they have to do one of 2 things...
1) refuse the request, or 2) grant it. In writing is key here.
It all depends on how vacation time is approved within the chain of command.
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:34 AM   #7
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Thanxs for info/response. Now the last day at work will be April 30 with two weeks of vacation and last pay date May 14th.

Any left over vacation will be paid along with accrued vacation for this year. Pay for vacation earned policy are in writing.
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:42 AM   #8
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Just another data point (actually 2):

I retired four months ago from federal employment, and Frank retired three weeks ago from megacorp.

Neither of us had the option of adding our vacation time to time in service for computing our pensions. Both of us were paid for any remaining vacation time in cash shortly after we retired.

I did the same as your DW, using up a lot of my vacation time while still on the books. My last two months were two weeks off, one week of work, rinse and repeat (since three week vacations required permission from way, way upper management at our agency). It worked out beautifully and was a wonderful stress relief, and allowed me to ease into retirement and adjust to it gradually. I think it's a great idea.

Frank, on the other hand, took the cash and is happy with his big, fat check! It's all good, either way.
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Old 03-18-2010, 12:00 PM   #9
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For my last few weeks of employment, being on vacation would have been redundant.
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Old 03-18-2010, 01:42 PM   #10
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I'm just petty enough that I'd probably say that training my replacement isn't my policy, given those circumstances.
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Old 03-18-2010, 02:58 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by cashbalancetrouble View Post
She feels shunned and is asked to leave meetings that she has always participated in for ten years at this facility.

When I was with MegaCorp, we referred to this as the "Forgotten but Not Gone" Syndrome. As soon as someone formally announced their departure, it was not uncommon for him/her to be unceremoniously booted out of -- or uninvited to -- staff meetings and other company doings. Your DW shouldn't take it as a personal affront -- her coworkers are moving on (and are probably quietly quite jealous of her upcoming new life!)

When it happened to me, I referred to myself as the "Troll under the Bridge"...and used the time to clear out old files, delete messages, and prepare for retirement!

Good luck to her in her new venture (and to you, as well!)
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Old 03-18-2010, 03:03 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by JoeDreaming View Post
When I was laid off from mh j*b, mega corp would not pay me for unused vacation time. I had almost 5 weeks vacation, so that really sucked. I can't offer you any advice, but I'm under the impression that unless you have something in writing, your employer can make up whatever rules they like.
These laws are state by state.
Most states do not require employer to pay out unused vacation.

Most notable exception is California, there might be others.

My employer stresses vacation is use it or lose it.
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Old 03-18-2010, 03:34 PM   #13
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Ugh. That's a rotten employer attitude - very.

I could retire in June and have my 5 weeks of leftover vacation paid out (it's in writing.) But... I am going to take a 2-week vacation in July and come back for a week, then leave. I'll have a 3-week payout, I will accrue more vacation during those 2 weeks, and July's health insurance will be at employee rates. My health ins. does not continue after retirement (other than COBRA).

I don't plan to announce my plans until the annual "raise" (ROTFLMAO) that I got yesterady shows up on the mid-May paycheck and they can't rescind it.

If it wasn't summer when I will retire - and I want to do gardening and travel to the beach - I would take more vacation weeks and have none left at the end - and get August health insurance at employee rates. It's still a possibility.

I don't care if they get grumpy. One of my friends said I'm "retiring in place" now - and that's pretty accurate. It's one of the reasons I'm at work and reading this forum a lot . I'm defnitely not working my butt off any more!
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Old 03-18-2010, 05:56 PM   #14
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Looking back, when I gave my notice the timing was just right. I couldn't (was waiting to qualify for individual health insurance before I could pull the trigger and let MEGACORP know my decision) and didn't want to announce my plans too early with the particular thought the MEGACORP could make the environment pretty stressful if they knew too early.
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Old 03-19-2010, 01:03 AM   #15
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When I got ready to bail out, they tried to talk me into taking all of vacation time off. I told 'em "no thanks"....I let 'em write me a nice fat check for all of it, and for all of my accumulated sick days, and for all of the comp-time I had on books! My regular pay for January through March was $12,000.....but my final check the 1st week of April for all of my 'banked' time put me up just a tad over $46,000!!!

I started training my replacement in early December, and a couple of days before Christmas, I was told to get lost! So I spent the next 3 months piddling around out in the workshop, listening to the radio, drinking coffee, and generally doing absolutely NOTHING!!!

As far as how an employer handles accumulated vacation time (or sick time or comp-time) pretty much all depends on whether there is a written policy. If there isn't anything in writing, then unless there are state statutes governing it in your state, the employer can do whatever they want. We had written policies on just about everything, which were mutually agreed upon by our employer and we employees, included as part of our union contract. Those in management positions also had contracts, but their contracts weren't nearly as generous as ours!
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Old 03-19-2010, 02:21 AM   #16
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Man, you guys have some nasty mega-corps to work for. Don't they realize that how they treat a departing employee affects moral of those who remain? I have a much different story. When I retired I told my boss on March 1 that I'd be leaving at the end of the month. He talked me into staying 90 days so I made it Jun 1 (because I wanted my last day to be a Friday).

  • Our mega-corp did not do sick days. Policy was essentially "if you're sick stay home, if not show up, don't abuse it".
  • Vacation was paid out. In my case, because I worked one day in June, I got 1.5 days of vacation pay (for the month of June).
  • Our annual stock option grants came in May. I didn't expect to get one and really didn't care since our stock was at an all time high and I didn't think any options would ever have much value. They gave my my annual grant which recently vested and is worth more than my last year's salary.

While I was tired of the usual mega-corp BS, I still have fond memories of how they treated their employees. When DS graduated from the local U, I recommended m-c as a great place to apply but he had other ideas about what he wanted to do & where to do it.
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Old 03-19-2010, 06:55 AM   #17
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Mine (8 weeks) will be paid in a lump sum. But then I'm taking a buy out.
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Old 03-19-2010, 08:03 AM   #18
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Sorry your wife's corp has such a poor attitude. I imagine some there are just jealous they can't retire. My old employer was just the opposite. They treated me very well on the way out. Heck, I've been retired 3 years and I still get invited to go on company paid golfing trips. Of course they may have been be using that as a lure to snag me back for a short term stint, in case my replacement quit.

If I were your wife, I would just keep the old head down at work and ride out the remaining time. Her after work life will be much better.
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Old 03-19-2010, 09:19 AM   #19
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I had my own weird thing happen when I left my company in November, 2008.

Because I had switched from working 20 hours per week in the middle of 2007 to only 12 hours per week, I had become ineligible for any additional Paid Time Off (PTO) the rest of 2007 or 2008. My reading of the the PTO rules was consistent with what I saw in my company's Intranet which showed us our PTO used and what remained (now zero).

So, imagine my surprise when I received (about a week after I left), in addition to my last paycheck, a paycheck (about $1,100) for some unused PTO hours. Of course, I could not access the company's Intranet any more, so I emailed the Payroll director, a very competent woman, to verify that this was not a mistake. As much as I like money, I don't want to profit from a mistake like this and/or have them come after me months later to get their money back (there could be tax issues, too).

She checked with her HR contact and verified that this was a legit payout, something which puzzled me. It turned out that these PTO hours were carryover from 2007 when I reduced my weekly hours. Somehow, I had not become "instantly" ineligible when I did that so I continued to accrue PTO the rest of the year. I guess it was a bug in their Intranet (not their first bug when it came to PTO hours for part-time employees like me) which prevented me from seeing these hours appear there while I was still working.

That did not explain why the recently revised PTO policy did not mention this but I guess it was not thorough enough for someone like me who switched from working at least 20 hours (eligible for ongoing accrued PTO) to something under 20 hours within a calendar year.

So, now that I was satisfied that the PTO money was mine, I cashed the check.
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Old 03-19-2010, 12:46 PM   #20
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Thanxs for info/response. Now the last day at work will be April 30 with two weeks of vacation and last pay date May 14th.

Any left over vacation will be paid along with accrued vacation for this year. Pay for vacation earned policy are in writing.
The way your DW's vacation time settlement is being handled does not really seem unusual or unfair. She is either taking the vacation (2 weeks) or being fully paid for untaken accrued vacation time (4 weeks).

Businesses have significantly progressed to considering vacation time to be time for taking a break from work, to refresh and to take a breather for the mutual benefit of the employer and the employee. It is frequently no longer being considered as time to add to the end of a career to lengthen seniority for the purpose of collecting a larger pension for the rest of your life. (That is still fairly common in public sector employment however.)

Help your DW understand she is not being singled out for unfair treatment, that her situation is typical. She chose to not use her 2009 vacation time but she is being compensated for it in cash now. Developing a bitter, resentful attitude towards a long term employer at retirement time over, really, nothing is a good way to ensure a recurring acid stomach during retirement every time thoughts regarding that employer come up. That's a good thing to avoid.

This should be a happy time. Your DW's employer is not doing anything unusual to change that. So, smile and enjoy!
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