So yeah, about that nearly $8000 that I recently lost. Well, I guess you can’t really say that I lost it because it was technically taken from me by my employer. Wait, that’s not exactly correct either. My employer would have been happy to keep showing how much vacation I had accrued but our new auditor this year decided to make us compliant. Hey, that’s what auditors are for, right? I work for a non-profit agency and we pay our auditors good money every single year to complete our yearly income taxes and ensure fraud is not being committed.
We have three versions of the employee manual at my job. The first one is the original, and several people are grandfathered into that plan. They are allowed to keep any vacation time they accrue, no matter how much it is. As for getting paid, no one expects that to happen since the agency is always struggling to make payroll so if one of those employees on the original plan retired it’s not like we could cough up $75,000 all at once. They also have life insurance and I have no idea what they get but the monthly amount they have to pay in is less than $5 each.
The second plan also allows employees to accrue and keep all the vacation time, but no life insurance.
I was hired just after the third version was placed in effect. The manual was revised because the board of directors was getting concerned with the large amounts of accrued vacation money owed to several employees (we’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars). As a result, the third version allows us to accrue 40 hours, period.
But in the decade I’ve been there, no one has ever enforced this rule. The person who is in charge of the accrued vacation has allowed people to keep their vacation, and every year we get a little note that indicates how many hours of vacation time we have accrued.
There are several of us on the third revision who had accrued several hundred hours of vacation time.
It’s not for lack of wanting to take vacation. Most of us are burned out and overworked. One of the main problems is that over the past ten years, practically every other position that was vacated, was left vacant. Instead of filling the position, we were expected to juggle and reshuffle our priorities to take on the tasks of the person who had moved on. I could fill a wall with hats for all the different jobs I’ve undertaken over the years. For example, when my supervisor moved on to greener pastures, his actual title position was taken over by someone in the agency, but all the other “hats” and duties were simply dropped. This other person, who works in the field most of the time, apparently was unaware of the extraneous duties carried on, one of those responsibilities being to purchase items. That was shifted over to me.
In addition… we are all given fairly large amounts of vacation time each year. I am awarded 5 weeks vacation each year, in addition to being paid for 8 holidays, 10 days sick leave, 1 personal day and 1 day for medical appointments. They are extremely generous, but I am so swamped that I cannot afford to take a sick day, let alone a vacation day. No one knows how to do my job, and there is no one to learn how to do my job. If I take a day off, I’m now another day behind. I can’t figure out how to get caught up. It creates a great deal of stress rushing around each day putting out fires.
It’s too bad we can’t just take the vacation time in money. I could definitely use $8000 right about now. Really, who couldn’t use $8000?
Have you ever lost vacation time because you were unable to take it?