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View Poll Results: Do you use all of your vacation days each year?
Yes, I never leave vacation days on the table. 76 59.84%
No, my employer or I don't believe in vacations. 11 8.66%
I've FIRE'd, so everyday is a vacation. 40 31.50%
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Old 08-06-2010, 04:46 PM   #21
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My boss is a heartless SOB who pinches pennies at every turn and has the bottom line as his major concern. I have no guaranteed amount of vacation so no worries about leaving anything on the table. That being said, I have managed 2 weeks of vacation so far this year and plan on squeezing in one more week before the year is over. Oh yeah, I'm self employed.
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Old 08-06-2010, 05:30 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by kiki View Post
I'm in the same boat, except we can roll-over one year of vacation, which I've done. The only time we can cash out vacation is when we leave the company, so that's a ways off for me. But someday I should get a few extra paychecks when I say good-bye.

The hard part is trying to use it all at once. I've managed this fairly well over the years, but leaving for more than 3 weeks can be uncomfortable. Especially when you're in the middle of a 2-3 year project and it seems like anytime you leave is a bad time.
I did the same thing. My company was just bought out and merged with the acquiring firm. Now I have to start accruing my time over again. But, I get paid for all my unused vacation time at my former employer!
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Old 08-06-2010, 06:03 PM   #23
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In my early years of working, I always used my 2 weeks plus a few floating holidays because I often went out of town for most of my vacation. Later, after I earned a third week, I had stopped taking a long trip every year (still did it some years) so I began taking extra days around the X-mas and New Years holidays to give me some time to "recharge." In some of those years, I rolled over a few days into the next year. We were always allowed to roll 5 days into the next year without question.

In the 2000s, I was working part-time most years so I had fewer days to take off because they were prorated. However, I could still reserve enough days at the end of the year to take 1-2 weeks off straight.

When I left the company in 2008, I did not even know that I still had some paid time off carried over from 2007 even though I had become ineligible for PTO after I cut my weekly hours from 20 to 12. I received, to my surprise, a check for those hours along with my lagged paycheck. It was peanuts compared to the company stock payout I received at the same time, but I laughed all the way to the bank (after I confirmed that it was not a mistake; I did not want that coming back to bite me in the a$$!).

Now that I am FIREd, every week is a vacation.
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Old 08-06-2010, 07:21 PM   #24
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I have worked my way up over the years to 5 weeks of vacation plus two personal days. I use every day of course even if I just take a day off to get caught up on stuff around the house, take the car in for an oil change, etc. I can carry over vacation days for up to three months after my anniversary date. Personal days must be used or lost by Dec. 31. I use a big slug of time over Christmas and into January when I escape the cold weather and wing off to FL.
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Old 08-06-2010, 08:49 PM   #25
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we work a 9/80 schedule (every other friday off) and i use every second...maybe a little more. i like to take vacations over my fridays off, and 9 hours fits into 120 hours a little oddly. i just ensure my billables are significantly above where they should be and ask my boss if i can "work remotely" between christmas and new years so i am not the only one sitting around in the office at that time. he seemed to understand and agree to my situation.

the best deal was when i worked offshore. i worked 14 days and got 14 days off. my schedule was like clockwork and i could depend on crew change day happening when they said it would. plus, i got 2 weeks off. i never took the monster 6 weeks in a row off, but i enjoyed the 2x 3 week periods each year. in fact, i kind of miss working 24 weeks a year.

getting vacation at megacorp is an act of congress. especially now that we have a manager who actively asks us what we are doing/did for vacation a couple of times a year. i only got it rolled over once, but it was my first year bearing shackles. moved to new orleans 6/22/05. left new orleans 8/26/2005. spent a month in iowa with my parents. spent another month figuring crap out in houston. worked a couple of months. rolled over vacation under a special exemption.

my dad jokes i've had more time off in my first 5 years than he has his entire working career.
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Old 08-06-2010, 08:52 PM   #26
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we work a 9/80 schedule (every other friday off) and i use every second...maybe a little more. i like to take vacations over my fridays off, and 9 hours fits into 120 hours a little oddly.
I used to work in a place where we could pick a 4x10 work week for a while. Most people wanted Friday and few more took Monday for three day weekends. I liked Wednesdays off because it meant never working more than two consecutive days. Sure, if we were going to go away for a long weekend I'd switch to Friday or Monday, but I did like never working more than two straight days.
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Old 08-06-2010, 09:28 PM   #27
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I get 30 days a year (vacation/sick, they don't care what you use it for), plus 4 floating holidays. I can carry over 20 days a year, which I built up a long time ago and carryover every year - so I get to use my 34 days a year.....and I do. One year when we had a lot of year-end work, and I had 5 "use or lose" days left (above my 20), my boss agreed to have me carry the extra 5 over "under the table" and use them in January "off the books".

Over the years all of my bosses have been very supportive of taking vacation time and/or being flexible about working off-hours, coming in early, working a w/e to make up for a weekday missed etc. I am the same way with my staff. By mid-year, if they haven't taken much time, I am the one telling them to start taking some. We all put in some long hours when we are knee-deep in projects. Vacation time is critical, just to recharge for the next disaster project.

The more I read this forum, the more fortunate I feel when it comes to my job....
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Old 08-06-2010, 09:35 PM   #28
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For what it's worth, I probably have about as generous a vacation benefit as there is in the U.S. private sector -- 5 weeks after 10 years of service.
I should add this is strictly vacation time. Sick leave isn't even formally tracked and the only real corporate guideline is that it's the manager's duty to make sure employees aren't using excessive sick leave without demonstrable cause or abusing the policy. So my Megacorp's paid time off policy is about as liberal as they come. Having said that, I've probably taken three or four sick days since I've been there -- and I've been there over 11 years now. Of course, working from home makes it easier to "show up" when you aren't feeling well and perform at maybe 50% or for a shorter period of time, but that's better than 0%.

I just wish that living in Texas, it were feasible to to take 3-4 weeks off in one chunk in (say) late July or early August and rent a vacation home in a place where it's a lot cooler like we did for a week in Ruidoso last year. It's hard to get much more than about a week and a half off at once without causing a disruption.
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Old 08-06-2010, 10:20 PM   #29
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I just wish that living in Texas, it were feasible to to take 3-4 weeks off in one chunk in (say) late July or early August and rent a vacation home in a place where it's a lot cooler like we did for a week in Ruidoso last year. It's hard to get much more than about a week and a half off at once without causing a disruption.
If you work from home, couldn't you spend some of the time in the vacation home working remotely?

It might not be ideal, but at least you'd be able to enjoy evenings/weekends in a differrent environment.
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Old 08-06-2010, 10:31 PM   #30
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My vacation/sick leave is combined and we can bank up to a maximum of 750 hours. With nearly 30 years of service, I accrue about 265 hours per year plus an additional 40 hours for holidays that I'm scheduled to work (24/7 operation). I use at least 280 hours per year. Some guys save it up to go out the door on extended vacation leading up to retirement.

I like to use it frequently. DW is semi-ER, we're both fit and healthy and enjoy traveling. Now is the time to enjoy it.
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Old 08-06-2010, 10:52 PM   #31
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My boss is a heartless SOB who pinches pennies at every turn and has the bottom line as his major concern. I have no guaranteed amount of vacation so no worries about leaving anything on the table. That being said, I have managed 2 weeks of vacation so far this year and plan on squeezing in one more week before the year is over. Oh yeah, I'm self employed.
You should fire him. But then again, you'll have three weeks of vacation for the year, so maybe you should keep him. Your choice, eh?
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Old 08-07-2010, 05:48 AM   #32
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Some benefits are considerably more generous in the public sector, but I'm not sure vacation time is one of them.
21 days to start on the Ohio Public University gravy train. 10 days for private sector. Please provide 1 example where private is greater than public.
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Old 08-07-2010, 07:25 AM   #33
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When I left public service I was getting the 26 days a year. At the time I retired I had a big chunk of rolled-over annual leave and compensatory leave so when the dust settled I got a check for almost five figures. I always carried a minimum of two weeks for "emergency leave" which could roll over indefinitely. Their policy was that I could carry over 340 hours (42.5 eight-hour days) from year to year.

Now in private sector I got no leave the first year, two weeks/year until three years, then three weeks/year after that. Welcome to the real world! As a practical matter I just take time off whether there's leave or not. Taking leave w/o pay is acceptable to them, and to me.

And every day in WV is a vacation day compared to the DC area!
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Old 08-07-2010, 09:11 AM   #34
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Not to mention accrued sick leave in the public sector. As a DC area resident, I would estimate that 40% of the people I know are in the public sector. Many of them have months worth of sick leave accumulated. Many, many months in a lot of cases. Most of the higher level employees probably never use it, but I know it's often used as vacation in the more mid to low level positions.

Very few private sector jobs (in my experience) offer the same perk.

Edit: Maybe this is what Walt is talking about with his compensatory leave. I'm not sure.
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Old 08-07-2010, 09:22 AM   #35
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21 days to start on the Ohio Public University gravy train. 10 days for private sector. Please provide 1 example where private is greater than public.
I know people working for state and local governments who are getting maybe 3 weeks a year after 10 years of service. I'm getting 5. One difference is the ability to accrue sick leave (and to have it paid out when you separate) which rarely exists in the private sector.
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Old 08-07-2010, 11:19 AM   #36
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Working as an attorney I used to think it is was nice that I was limited to a set amount of vacation. So if I wanted to take a total of, say, 4 weeks or 5 weeks off during the year...no problem.

But, I realized that this was misleading. In truth, I really received no vacation. Sure, I could take off and go somewhere on vacation. But, here's the thing. The amount of hours of work I was expected to bill didn't vary depending on whether I took vacation or not. And the expectation was really based upon the idea of working without taking vacation.

There were many vacation where I ended up working during vacation. On others I worked extra hours before/after so I didn't get behind on hours.

DH worked for a megacorp. By the time he retired he was entitled to 7 weeks of time off (plus holidays) that could be used for vacation or sick days. Also, when he retired he was paid for unused vacation time for that year (you could only carry over one year) and, if he retired after June 1, have of the vacation time for the following year. That was a nice check to receive.
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Old 08-07-2010, 11:25 AM   #37
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So my Megacorp's paid time off policy is about as liberal as they come. Having said that, I've probably taken three or four sick days since I've been there -- and I've been there over 11 years now.
Mine's pretty nice also. At 10 years you would get 4 weeks vacation + 17 company holidays (including the week between Christmas and New Years and the week of 4th of July) and 10 use or lose sick days. I think I use maybe 2-3 sick days a year. We can roll over 1.75x our annual vacation allowance each year.

I get only 3 weeks vacation since I've been there less than 5 years but I wouldn't let any vacation expire. I normally keep around 3 weeks vacation stored as I typically take 2 full weeks of vacation sometime throughout the year (1 in summer and 1 with Christmas to have 2 weeks off) and the other days in piecemail or save. I'll probably take Fridays off if it becomes necessary and I start losing the vacation days but I haven't accumulated that much yet.
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Old 08-07-2010, 11:38 AM   #38
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I have never let vacation time go unused in 15 years of being in the workforce. My best friend had something like 6 weeks of vacation and started losing vacation time; basically working for free!

I work in the private sector and get 4 weeks of vacation. I have been fortunate to always have at least 3 weeks every year, even when I worked for megacorp. The two small companies that I've worked for only offered 2 weeks but I negotiated longer vacations before I started. It's more important than pay for me.

Taking anymore than a 2 week vacation causes feelings of guilt because most of my coworkers never seemed to take longer vacations.
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Old 08-07-2010, 11:52 AM   #39
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My wife gets 5 weeks of vacation and/or sick time. She can only rollover a maximum of 7 weeks from year to year, which she already does. So she has to take her 5 weeks off or lose paid vacation days. It's a struggle. Sometimes she blocks some time off months ahead of time and then "something comes up". Sometimes she is already on vacation when she is asked to come back or call in for some "urgent" matter. Her employer has zero respect for employees' time off. None. Even sick days mean nothing if they need something from you. The only time they leave her alone is when we go "hide" overseas.
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Old 08-07-2010, 01:30 PM   #40
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Sometimes she blocks some time off months ahead of time and then "something comes up". Sometimes she is already on vacation when she is asked to come back or call in for some "urgent" matter. Her employer has zero respect for employees' time off. None. Even sick days mean nothing if they need something from you. The only time they leave her alone is when we go "hide" overseas.
Same situation here. I'm much better about this now than I was before. My boss used to guilt trip me about taking trips, especially overseas, because of an "urgent project". But the thing is, there's ALWAYS an urgent project or fire to put out! My boss once had the gall to suggest that I shouldn't buy tickets till a week or two before vacation! I told him that I would do that if they would pay the difference in the higher fare that I would have to pay by buying it close to the date. He never brought it up again.

I think the turning point came about 5 years back when I was preaching to my coworker. We worked on the same project and often took over for one other when the other was away. He wanted to go visit some relatives and friends in Asia for Chinese New Year. He was going to cancel the trip because of the hard time he got from our boss. I convinced him to go and when he came back he was raving about how great of a time he had with all his friends and family. This made me realize that I should follow my advice and not worry about what my boss or other coworkers thought. As long I give me plenty of notice and finish my responsibilities, why should I worry?! When I'm on my deathbed, I can guarantee that I'm not going to fondly reminisce about that work project I completed because I canceled that vacation.
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