The Strangest Vacation Policy I’ve Ever Seen

by Evil HR Lady on July 15, 2008

We are a very small company and, up until now, haven’t had a need for anything more than a vacation policy. Recently, I have been placed in charge of creating a sick leave policy or PTO policy. My research has lead me to wonder about the legality of our vacation policy. Basically we are given a set number of days off for various years of service. Where the issue lies is taking the vacation time.

If vacation is taken during the months of November through February, we are allowed to use ½ day of paid vacation time per full day off; if vacation is taken during the months of March, April, September and October, vacation time is day for day; if vacation is taken during the months of May through August, 1 ½ days of paid vacation time is used per day off. So if I take 5 day vacation in January, I only have to use 2 ½ days of my paid vacation time. If I take the same vacation in July, I have to use 7 ½ days of my paid vacation time. Bonus in the winter, but for those of us who have school-age children, the summer months are family vacation time and time off from school in the winter is limited.

Do you have any insight into this? Is it legal to require employees to use their vacation time in this manner?

Not a lawyer and not going to comment on the legalities. I am going to comment that you are nuts if you think the only official policy you need is a vacation one, but I’m now going to leave that alone as well.

On the one hand, I think this vacation policy is brilliant! It would effectively encourage winter vacations and discourage summer vacations. I assume you have a business that is busier in the summer. Or perhaps you just don’t want everyone on vacation at the same time.

On the other hand, I think, are you people on crack? Talk about discriminating against parents of school age children! Now, honestly, my oldest child starts kindergarten this fall (sob!), so up until this September, I would have loved your policy. I’d much rather go places on the off season anyway. But, starting September 2 I’d be really ticked about it. Not only do I get the priviledge of spending all my vacations with other people’s annoying children, now my vacation time is cut! In all honesty, I’d start looking for a new job right about now.

Yes, you heard me. That policy alone would make me start looking for a new job. I love vacation. Do you hear me? I love it. I use every allotted vacation day.

So, anyway, I’m intrigued as to what other people think. I’d think there would have to be a pretty strong business reason for such a policy. If there is one, I might be able to get behind it. Otherwise, say goodbye to people who can’t (easily) take vacations during the winter.

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