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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%
Voters: 127. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-20-2010, 02:05 PM   #61
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I worked for a U.S. subsidiary of a French firm (so I'm aware of the "situation").

I had a French boss (and a small French staff), of whom I spent a week with, every four-six weeks.

So I'm aware of the perceived "inequities" in vacation time.

Just to say (to add consideration) concerning the discussion, French folks do not get a holiday (or get paid) if certain holidays fall on a weekend, unlike we in the U.S. (I say "we", but since I'm retired, every day is a holiday/vacation day).

If Christmas falls on a Saturday/Sunday? You don't get off Friday/Monday, unless you take a vacation day.

Additionally, most French folks take off the month of August. That's 4-5 weeks that you are expected to be off. I don't think most folks in the U.S. would like to be told that this is when you must take your time off.

I have my own opinions of where it is better to live (if you are still working) since I did work for multiple firms (based in the U.S. but HQ/boss/staff in Europe).

That's just my view from "this side of the pond".

OTOH, I gained a great appreciation for French wine (favorite? Cote de Rhone), along with “steak tartar” and other dishes.

My “tourist French” also allowed me/wife to vacation in the country often, in areas outside of Paris where English is not a common spoken language (of those over 30 years of age)…
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Old 08-20-2010, 04:54 PM   #62
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Additionally, most French folks take off the month of August. That's 4-5 weeks that you are expected to be off. I don't think most folks in the U.S. would like to be told that this is when you must take your time off.
There are obvious disadvantages to that arrangement; but it least it ensures that everyone does get time off. I could certainly go for that!
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Old 08-20-2010, 05:29 PM   #63
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In the past few days, DW received a letter from HR saying she absolutely needed to use up her vacation days before the end of the year. HR reminded her (quite sternly I might add) that the company was proud to offer paid vacations days to their employees and that a rested employee was healthier and more productive. So she went ahead and scheduled a 2-week break. They came back and said it wasn't a good time for it... Typical.
The reason they wanted the days used up is because they are an accrued liability and must be accounted for as such on the balance sheet. I guess when the chips were down they needed DW more than they needed a balanced budget.
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Old 08-20-2010, 05:54 PM   #64
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Worked for myself, so all I can say is: People take vacations?
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:35 PM   #65
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Being ESR, I often take break from my vacation to do my part-time work.
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Old 08-21-2010, 12:43 PM   #66
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I take all 52 weeks that I am allotted. In fact, as luck would have it, I am on vacation now.
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Old 08-21-2010, 10:55 PM   #67
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When I was a Fed, once I built up my 240 max carry over from year to year, I had to take 26 days a year or lose them. And I wasn't going to lose them. In addition there were 13 days of sick leave a year that I only used when sick as we were able to accumulate these towards extra retirement credit. Came to almost a year. Also 10 days of holidays. Before I retired from the reserves, I was gone another 2 weeks a year. On top of that, there were 2 weeks of mandatory training a year as well as several mandatory conferences I had to attend. As my boss said, it was hard to give me long term projects, I was never there .

As a consultant working for a small company, I get 25 days of PTO (leave and SL) plus 10 holidays. I am always in the hole, which is fine with me .

One thing I never did understand is when my friends who are fully retired say they are "going on vacation." How do you "go on vacation" when your life is a perpetual vacation (one that I look forward to) ?
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Old 08-22-2010, 08:20 AM   #68
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One thing I never did understand is when my friends who are fully retired say they are "going on vacation." How do you "go on vacation" when your life is a perpetual vacation (one that I look forward to) ?
I agree (I'm retired). My DW still wo*ks so when we take a trip, it's a vacation for her but it's going back to wo*k for me (I hate going, but that's another story).

The term "vacation" is for the pre-retiree.

For the retiree? It's just a trip, IMHO...
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Old 08-22-2010, 10:39 AM   #69
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I agree (I'm retired). My DW still wo*ks so when we take a trip, it's a vacation for her but it's going back to wo*k for me (I hate going, but that's another story).

The term "vacation" is for the pre-retiree.

For the retiree? It's just a trip, IMHO...
Same here. For the last few years, when my dad, my ladyfriend, and I make our annual Thanksgiving week trip to my brother's place (a 200-mile drive), it is just a trip for my dad (retired for 16 years) and me (retired since 2008). We just pack up and go. But for my ladyfriend, she has to arrange months in advance to take some extra days off from F/T work, and for her it is more of a vacation than a trip for my dad and me.
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:31 AM   #70
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Where I work, last year they let us take "unpaid time off" in one-week blocks. This was due to low sales volume last year. I applied for and got 2 unpaid weeks off. This is in addition to regular vacation days. I figure those well-enjoyed weeks off, even though unpaid, were a good thing, especially since I was still getting supercheap health insurance all the while.
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Old 08-22-2010, 07:59 PM   #71
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FIREd so on perpetual vacation. ... btw, everyday's a Sunday for us FIREes
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Old 09-01-2010, 10:42 AM   #72
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Another interesting article about this. The reactions are good, too. One Megacorp has apparently abolished vacation days for VPs and above.
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Old 09-02-2010, 01:10 PM   #73
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I pretty much use what I earn each year now, but as a Fed, I am allowed to carryover 30 days, perpetually. I have that 30 days saved up (from my younger days when I couldn't afford as many vacations), and use the rest.
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Old 09-02-2010, 02:26 PM   #74
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I was allowed to accumulate 8 weeks so I kept it at that, taking all the other vacation. One year they offered to pay a week if I took a week so I had 4 weeks of extra vacation with 4 weeks of extra pay. A useful combination.

Then the following year, they offered a golden handshake, and the 4 extra weeks of pay counted in their formula for pension calculations. Talk about lucking into a great settlement. They wanted me to stay but I could not afford to.
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Old 09-02-2010, 02:47 PM   #75
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Most research university academics are paid on a 9. 9.5 or 10 month academic year with no paid "vacation" time built into it. On most holidays we had classes and then were allocated the holidays on days between xmas and New Year's. Critical academic meetings were normally concentrated when students were off. At our shop the vast majority of faculty worked most of the summer either teaching or on research grants. All "vacations" were unpaid. All that being said most faculty leave a few weeks "unpaid" so they can take traditional vacations. I normally took two or three weeks when we had small kids. If I had any luck we could combine it with research travel.
Since my wife is a fed it is always interesting to compare the overall salary and benefits. Unless you were a "star" If you took the same vacation as the feds you were clearly below them in salary and benefits but not by a huge amount. University stars were better paid than civil service feds but the scientists at NIH had special deals.
University faculty have always had fewer children and more working spouses than many other fields, so that may affect the lifestyle choices. In my entire career I knew only one faculty member with more than two children.
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