I don’t think we’ve had this conversation in a few years, so let’s discuss: What “vacation time” comes with your job? What happens if you don’t take the time? how much time have you taken off in recent years, as a percentage of what you’re eligible for? (If your company allows remote work, do remote workers have the same holiday time packages/expectations as in-office workers?)
I’ve seen four main kinds of paid holiday days given by companies:
Earn your holiday time: You have to work to earn your holiday time. At a smaller office, a newer hire may be prohibited from taking substantial vacations, especially around holidays, as a lot more senior members get first pick of when they’ll take time off. sick days may “blend” a bit with vacation. (I just saw someone tweeting about how she had worked a zillion days straight while trying to “save up” for her maternity leave. Whee…)
Use it or lose it: Your company may give you a set number of days for holiday — and if you don’t use it you’ll lose it. In my experience, people with these packages are the ones who take vacations the most, even if they’re just restful staycations, because it’s part of the company culture that everyone takes that number of days off.
Rolling over holiday time: Some companies grant a set number of holiday days, and those holiday days can roll over from one year into the next if they go unused. This can be ideal in a situation like a pandemic, where travel can be tough — but also if you want to bank your days, either for a big trip (honeymoon!) or to extend a limited maternity leave, especially with a small company where FMLA doesn’t apply.
”Unlimited” holiday days: These benefits seem like they’ll be fantastic at first because, woohoo, unlimited vacation! but in my experience a lot of people in these jobs take less holiday than people with limited holiday days. I think this happens for a few reasons, the greatest of which pertains to company culture — without the “use it or lose it” mentality, a lot of people just don’t take vacation. (On the flip side, I know one friend of a friend who’s the top executive at a healthcare facility who has taken probably 10 weeks of holiday between January 2021 and now … so if you can actually take it, good for you!) If you have unlimited holiday days, I’d love to hear how lots of you take, and what a “reasonable number of holiday days” is (unofficially) among your coworkers.
So let’s discuss, readers: What do your holiday benefits look like? Does your office or team have rules (written or otherwise) on who can go on holiday at what time? Finally, how much holiday have you taken in recent years (and how much are you planning to take over the next 12 months or so)?
Stock photo by means of Stencil.