Swiss Thursday: Guaranteed Vacation Time

Everyone knows that “Europe” has fabulous vacation policies. (I put Europe in quotation marks because I’ve encountered so many people that don’t understand that the different countries in Europe vary wildly in so many things, EU or not.) In Switzerland, you’re guaranteed 4 weeks of paid vacation.

But, if you have little darlings at home, and they have a school break, you get another benefit–your boss can’t say no to your vacation request. Even if it’s busy season. Even if EHRL needs her Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. (True story!)

To read all about it, click here: When Your Boss Can’t Say No to a Vacation Request

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15 thoughts on “Swiss Thursday: Guaranteed Vacation Time

  1. Hmmm….a person living in Switzerland, with limited background and experience in both human resources and U.S. industry, providing human resources advice to people in the United States…..????
    But, to the point, comparing Swiss policies and industry to the United States policies and industries makes little sense. But there is the same problem existing here, it is called FMLA.

    1. She’s a US expat living in Switzerland now. She worked here in HR for years and years and years. She knows her way around US HR regs.

      1. Awww, thanks Anonymous. I do know my way around HR regs. What I don’t know is my way around Swiss regs!

  2. It sounds great, and when my daughter was in school I would have loved this. But do they try to address the inequity of those without children or whose children are past school age, who don’t get this time off?

    1. Once you’ve used up your paid vacation time (minimum 4 weeks), it’s unpaid, so most people don’t take massive amounts of time off. Very few people can afford it, as it’s expensive here!

  3. I’d be okay with it as long as I weren’t unfairly penalized–meaning I NEVER got a major holiday off because I always had to cover for the parents. In those cases, I think a non-vital employer could close for the day and let everyone enjoy it.

    Also, if they let their non-parent employees have time to recover when sick, etc. and make sure to have coverage if needed then. I wouldn’t want to have to work sick because Pierre’s little one had a day out. That would be miserable.

    1. Elizabeth, I agree, would single people have to work holidays? On the flip side, would parents, especially single parents, get passed up for jobs? I mean, hiring managers aren’t ‘supposed’ to discriminate when it comes to that, but does it happen? Would it happen?

  4. I wonder how they handle essential services such as hospitals, police, fire, utilities, etc..?

    There needs to be a minimum of staff available at all times. My current department would not be able to function if all the employees with children were allowed time off at the same time.

    1. I was going to ask the same question. I’d hate to have an accident during spring break and the hospital is closed because all the doctors and nurses have children on holiday.

    2. I don’t know the answer to this! I presume there are things in place for that, but also consider that any time other than your regular vacation is unpaid and you’ll see that people don’t really take advantage of it.

      The Swiss culture is VERY work oriented. They also offer unemployment at 80 percent of salary for 2 years! A Swiss person would rather die than spend more time than they absolutely have to on unemployment. Other cultures don’t have this same work ethic and it makes immigration problematic.

  5. I like family friendly policies, but I think this one is a bit extreme, and I do wonder about the discriminating impact to those without children and how essential services are handled. It would suck being the only one without a kid and always having to work every holiday. I’d really start to resent folks who chose to breed in this already overpopulated world (see, my cynicism is creeping in!)

    1. So I see this a benefit to workers with children, and a detriment to those without (less vacation flexibility).

      I assume that Swiss workers sans children are not paid any more than those with children, despite providing more value to the company.

  6. I work in a customer service, open virtually all holidays, kind of place in the USA. As a childless person, my time off is often considered “less important.” I’m the one getting pressure to cover for people so they can have holidays with their kids, so they can pick up their kids from daycare or go see a school play or sporting event.
    It might be nice for the morale of the parents, but it kills the morale of those of us who always have to cover for them.

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