In a typical year, New York employees at magazine publisher Conde Nast must use or lose their vacation days before the end of December – a common policy in corporate America.
But earlier this month, the company sent an email to employees saying they could take five vacation days over the next year, a clear admission that several days between the long hours and travel restrictions imposed by the epidemic Passed away. “The carry over will be automatic, and nothing further has to be done,” the email states.
Condé Nast was not the only one to make year-end arrangements for holiday-deprived workers. However, some employers are adjusting less.
“It’s a big issue we’re seeing now – requesting competition for time over the next two weeks,” said Alan S. Bloom, an employment lawyer for Prosquer in New York. “Customers are struggling to find out.”
Mr. Bloom and other lawyers and human resources experts said there was no clear pattern of how employers were handling the challenge.
Many companies that already allow employees to take vacation days next year – such as Goldman Sachs (usually up to 10) and Spotify (typically up to 10) – have not felt the need to change their policies.
The same is true for some companies that pay workers for their unused vacation days.
Neither General Motors nor Ford Motor, whose hourly workers can redeem unused vacation days at the end of the year, are making changes this year.
But many workers may find themselves unable to take the holidays they had postponed: Salaried workers of both automakers lose unused vacation days at the end of the year without compensation.
Other companies have taken steps that can define a potential HR headache and, they say, benefit their work forces in difficult times.
Bank of America, which typically requires its US employees to take all of their leave before the end of the year, said in June that it would allow them to push for five days in the first quarter of 2021.
Citigroup typically allows its US employees to take vacation days in the first quarter of next year, but in July it added a hint: employees receive an extra day off next year if they leave their office this year All 2020s use vacation time.
Smaller companies have made similar modifications.
Latashav Drilling, an oil services company based in Tulsa, Ocala, typically allows office workers to roll over to a three-week vacation time. In December, Latshaw told his office staff that he would buy up to a week of unused time from the amount they would otherwise lose.
“Since this year was so crazy and people were afraid to travel, we made a change once,” said Trent Latshaw, the company’s founder and president.
Many experts said that there is a philosophical question on the benefits of vacation: to ensure that workers take time? Or an alternative form of compensation on vacation days, which employees can use to complete their work, whether they are away from the job, to meet their income or a memorial to their productivity As to drag with you?
An employer’s policies may reflect his views on this question: For all of his shortcomings, the use-or-lose-it rules can help ensure that workers are asked to take time off, Jackie Reinberg, who heads the consulting firm’s Absence and Disability practice. Willis Towers Watson. Conversely, the rollover and cash-out options mean that leave is an asset they are entitled to control.
Nevertheless, for many workers, the problem during epidemics is not so much on unused vacation days as on inadequate vacation days. Jonathan Williams, communications director for the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400, which represents grocery store workers in the Mid-Atlantic states, said workers were sometimes asked to quarantine a second time, Was forced to pull its reserves of paid time off. A possible coronavirus risk. Only the first quarantine is usually covered by the employer, Mr. Williams said.
And some employees have difficulty taking advantage of the liberal policies of their companies.
A Target spokesperson said the company has increased the number of vacation days that both hourly and salaried employees can roll over into the next year, depending on the role and tenure of the employee. But according to Adam Ryan, Joe Christianburg, Va. In the works for Target, many employees struggle to qualify for benefits such as vacation days.
Mr. Ryan said in a text message that he had been with the company for three years, but generally averaged less than 20 hours a week. “That way I don’t get any vacation or sick days, there’s no real benefit of any kind,” he said.
Target spokesman said employees could take more hours under it Holiday staffing.
Several union officials, employers, and human-resource experts said that financial considerations led to many decisions regarding leave policies during the epidemic. Toyota typically allows hourly and several salaried employees in the United States to cash up to two weeks of unused vacation days. This year, the company reduced the cap for a week, a change that a spokeswoman said was to help average layoffs.
Ideas become more complicated for the days that workers push into future years. According to Ms. Reinberg, allowing workers to roll over on days could create a pile of liabilities payable to workers that many employers loathe to carry on their books.
A union official from the news organization Reuters said the company cited accounting concerns this year in sticking with its use-or-lose policy. The union had noted that its contract allows management to approve a rollover of vacation days in “exceptional circumstances”.
“If this year hasn’t been extraordinary, I don’t know what the hell has been,” said union official Dan Grebler, an editor who heads the workers’ bargaining unit in Reuters. “The response was: ‘No, we can’t do that. It would involve complicated bookkeeping.'”
Mr. Grebler said Reuters had started urging workers to remove the days of this calendar year from the time they reprimanded him.
A Reuters spokesman said that “our policy for US employees has not been allowed for unused vacation days for some years” and added that “employees have been regularly reminded of the first half of this year. “
Unionized employees at The New York Times, such as journalists, are strongly encouraged to use vacation days during the year in which they accrue days, but are typically assigned to them by March 1 of the following year can take. The day they do not use that point is paid in cash. A company spokesperson said the policy had not changed this year.
By both law and customs, many Americans view holiday days as an order to take them ahead of time as compensation.
In a survey by Willis Towers Watson in April, more than half of employers planned to change their holiday benefits or said they were doing so because they did not expect workers to use all their days. About one-third of the changes were said to have become very expensive.
Some states, such as California and Montana, codify the property-correct approach to leave by announcing essentially use-it-or-lose-it policies. (Companies with use-it-lose-it or strict rollover policies should exempt workers in those states.)
Such laws effectively protect workers from being deprived of vacation days that are difficult to use during the year, only to have them expire at the end of the year. But these laws can micro-discourage holidays by eliminating shortages of funds or making them easier indefinitely.
“As a lawyer, you need to be able to maintain unused vacation time,” said Peter Roemer-Freedman, an employment lawyer at Gupta Wessler. “But I’m not sure that makes a good incentive.”
To this end, many companies, many in the tech industry, have seized on the epidemic to have the opportunity to ensure that their workers are decompressing.
In the spring, software company GitLab responded to a significant increase in so-called hours by more than 1000 of its workers Friends and family days, In which the company shuts down to discourage people from logging in. Google, Slack, and software company Cloudera have introduced similar policies – none of which count workers’ paid days.
Automatic, the creator of the website-building tool WordPress.com, has gone even further, encouraging employees who work together as a way to eliminate their holidays, which eliminates friction.
“We’re taking time out with the entire teams,” Lori McClesey, the company’s head of human resources, wrote in an email. “We are hoping that this can reduce the amount of ‘catch up’ working workers typically return after taking leave, making their transition less stressful or overwhelming.”
Peter Avis and Clifford Kruse contributed reporting.