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The Challenge of Time Off Expand / Collapse
Posted Friday, December 20, 2013 7:33 AM

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P Jones (12/20/2013)
I'm in the UK and have 31.5 days leave (1.5 added in place of compulsory shutdowns) which was 26.5 until 5 years service complete. Plus Bank Holidays. Then we work flexitime and can take up to two flexi days off per month as long as the worked hours per month are correct and we always have to liaise with other team members to ensure cover. There's no working before 07:30 or after 18:00 without prior authorisation and no callouts when on leave so overall the work-life balance is good. Cr*p pay though.

What's a "compulsory shutdown" ?

"The universe is complicated and for the most part beyond your control, but your life is only as complicated as you choose it to be."
Post #1524986
Posted Monday, December 23, 2013 1:54 AM



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Compulsory shutdown is when you are forced to take some annual leave at a particular time. This often occurs in the manufacturing industry when they have a furnace that they turn off, wait days for it to cool down, perform maintenance then it takes a couple more days to heat up again. During this time no-one in a chain of work involving the furnace can do anything. As this often was the majority of staff this has carried through to the office staff of the 20th and 21st centuries.

On another note, I tend to find that working freelance on a daily rate has meant that clients now rather time wasn't taken when deadlines are tight. Before, on an hourly rate, I could check that they were happy for me to work a little longer each day to ensure that the necessary tasks were achieved on time then take a day off. To be honest, I am not prepared to do work extra unpaid hours to fit deadlines that ignore room for absences (i.e. holiday/vacation). I am prepared to put in extra hours when required but not to take a days leave unpaid. PLEASE NOTE: that it is not all companies that are so inflexible.


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Post #1525441
Posted Monday, January 13, 2014 4:23 AM
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below86 (12/19/2013)
majorbloodnock (12/19/2013)
Jim Youmans-439383 (12/19/2013)
At my last job, we had a use it or lose it policy. If you did not use your two weeks, then you lost it. The bad part was that if you tried to take more than a 4 day weekend (Friday - Monday) your manager would make a big deal out of it and try to guilt you into not doing it. The one time I did take a week off, I got called every day and had to log in twice to fix something. It was a horrid place and I am very glad I do not work there anymore.

My new position is much better and I am looking forward to my vacation this summer!

It's posts like that which remind me of my good fortune.

In the UK, four weeks is the norm, and the flexible benefits package in the company where I work allows us to buy extra to take it up to a maximum of six weeks per year. That aside, holiday is not a privilege; it's a contractual right. Once again, in the UK, the scenario Jim's post outlines would very likely have constituted harrassment and landed the company in court.

From my point of view, if a company cannot do without someone long enough for them to take a holiday, they have a critical single point of failure and that person's manager isn't doing their job properly.

"Four weeks is the norm"? No matter if you've been there a year or 20 years?

They seem to have the right idea about this in the UK. I'm going to have to check out the job market over there.

I'm not completely sure about this but I think the minimum statutory holiday leave here in the UK is 15 days. Bank Holidays (first Monday in May, last Monday in May, last Monday in August in England, differences in Scotland, Northern Ireland and possibly Wales) can be included in those 15 days, although that's not usual. Typically leave increases with service. When I was an employee at the place I know freelance, I had 30 days plus Bank Holidays plus Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day, Good Friday and Easter Monday, so 38 days in total, with reasonable sick leave on top of that (it's normal to have to provide a doctor's certificate if one is off for more than two days or more than one day either side of a weekend).
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