Saturday, November 01, 2008

We only work when we need the money

Every month, payroll passes out a little sheet for managers so they can see who has taken how much vacation, and how much each person needs to take by the end of the year. The latter is on account of our company's policy that half your earned time off is "use or lose," presumably to prevent workaholics from cashing out six months of pay after taking no time off in their time at the paper.

The way I figure it, you need a couple of weeks off, minimum, if you're going to go anywhere of consequence. But time off is accrued starting Jan. 1, so people who plan to take longer vacations almost always need to wait until late spring or early summer to hit the road.

You will be astonished, I am sure, to hear that every year, lots of people go on vacation later in the year rather than earlier. And every year, around Jan. 2, managers say, "OK, make sure you sign up for vacation early so we don't wind up with everyone wanting to take time off at the same time at the end of the year."

Is it possible that a competing system might result in a different pattern? I can think of two that don't involve cracking down on when people take time off:
  • Reorganize the year so that summer and fall's good traveling weather is not followed by holidays everyone wants to go home for.
  • Change the accrual calendar to July 1-June 30.
My bet is the first of those two options is more likely to happen than the second.

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