I’ve been at my current company for six years now. That’s quite an accomplishment as I intended to work for this company for a short time while seeking out something more meaningful. As I’ve stayed with the company while moving around to a variety of departments, I’ve accrued to privilege of taking an increasing number of vacation days.
Here is our policy, modified a little bit for sake of quasi-anonymity. Every third year of service, an employee receives three more days added to their pool, starting with the first full year of employment. During employment before the first full year, vacation days are awarded at a rate of 1 days per month for the last six months of the year and 1.5 days per month for the first six months. 6 “sick days” are added to these totals, but they’re similar to vacation days in all respects except one: Don’t take more than 6 unplanned sick days in any 12 month period.
Any unused vacation days can be carried over to the following year with a maximum of half the total allotted vacation days. I have 24 vacation days this year (not including 6 sick days), plus 4 carried over from last year.
Last year, I took 17 out of the 28 total vacation days available to me. I should take more, particularly due to the health benefits of two-week vacations. Several studies show that Americans take fewer vacation days than workers in other countries, and we are awarded fewer days than workers in Great Britain and France. In 137, paid vacation is mandated for employers, but not in the United States.
Do American workers have a responsibility to take as few vacation days as possible? How many vacation days, or how much of your “allotment” do you take?
Published or updated June 9, 2008.