Could taking a vacation get you fired?
One-fifth of American workers say using vacation time puts them at risk of losing their jobs, a survey finds.
One-fifth of Americans working at least 35 hours a week think using vacation time makes them look replaceable, therefore putting them at risk of losing their jobs, a new survey found.
The concerns could have a foundation in reality -- after all, there's no federal law guaranteeing people the vacation they've earned, and unless a termination breaches a contract or discrimination laws, employers can fire people for pretty much whatever they want to.
The aforementioned survey includes responses from 1,303 adult Americans working at least 35 hours per week and was conducted June 20 to 30 by GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications for the U.S. Travel Association. The sample is weighted and scaled to be nationally representative, and the margin of error is plus or minus 2.71 percentage points. The sample included responses from 235 workers with managerial responsibilities, and the margin of error for their responses is plus or minus 6.39 percentage points.
Taking time off is generally considered beneficial for an employee's health (though you should be careful not to overspend on vacation) and, in turn, beneficial to his or her employer, but that alone doesn't persuade workers to take a paid break from the job. Beyond the desire to work harder and longer hours as a way of proving your worth -- what the study calls a "work martyr complex" -- there seems to be poor communication between management and employees about taking time off: 67 percent of survey respondents said their company says nothing about, sends unclear messages about or discourages use of paid time off, while 19 percent of managers say they never talk to employees about the benefits of taking time off (14 percent said they rarely talk about it).
The vast majority (95 percent) of managers said they recognize the importance of taking paid time off.
Whether you should be worried about vacation adversely affecting your job stability depends on your individual situation. Employment lawyers will say your boss can't discriminate who gets paid vacation by gender, race or another protected class, but outside of those parameters and any contract you have with a company, employers can fire you for a wide variety of things. It may not make sense to fire someone for taking vacation he or she has earned, but as far as legality goes, you should check your employment agreement and state laws.
Fear of losing one's job is no small matter: Without a regular source of income, you face the risk of defaulting on loan obligations, incurring late fees on a slew of bills or worse. Your income isn't listed on your credit report, but your ability to repay a loan is often considered when a lender reviews a credit application, and if past unemployment prevented you from paying bills, you could see the effects of that in your credit scores and, ultimately, your access to credit products and decent interest rates. (You can obtain two of your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.)
The chance of losing your job is also an argument for building an emergency fund. Having a few months' worth of expenses set aside will help you avoid falling behind on bills or going into debt during times of economic hardship. If you don't have a sufficient emergency fund now, here are some tips for getting started.
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My mother died, and my brother was told, "You can go to the funeral, but you might not have a job when you come back."
I went home on 3 days 'bereavement leave', and while I was on 'bereavement leave', my supervisor called me and said he understood that I had a dentist appointment the day I was due back and I could take that day off (a Thursday), and didn't expect me to be in to work the next day after having a wisdom tooth pulled. So, I had 3 days bereavement leave and 2 days regular leave after and a weekend. Big difference between my company and my brother's.
I got fired (laid-off) for being out from an injury after 7-weeks. A teen-age driver (almost 18) T-boned my motorcycle in a Target parking lot, crushing my right leg above the ankle. I almost died in the hospital from a pulmonary embolism. I was allowed by the doctors to return to work 7-weeks later but was laid-off on my 4th day back. It seems they decided if they can work around my absence, then I must not be needed. Strange that our department (manufacturing engineering) was so over worked that I could not take a day off before the accident but now I was not needed.
Try getting work during a recession when you can't drive because of an injury and you can't pass a drug test because of the pain medication you have to take to sleep at night.
I couldn't sue for discrimination either; white, male, heterosexual. Even though I was disabled, I couldn't sue. When they laid me off, they also laid off five product engineers over 60. I balanced for them and they balanced for me...company protected.
Vacation penalty? That has been in practice for many a year.
Your company will insist, even force, you to take your vacation. But the wheels are always turning in those feverish little brains of the board room. "He's on vacation, and things seem to work fine without him." It is noticed. You won't be fired immediately (too obvious for a lawsuit), but soon.
It's a catch 22. And if things are a mess at your office, while you are gone? It is still your fault.
Don't make a sound, when you live in a jungle.
I bet there are thousands of people who can tell stories about people taking vacation only to find they had no job when they came back. I have seen it myself and it is not pretty.
People are afraid to take vacation because most companies run so mean and lean that there is no one who can cover for the employee on vacation. Either the employee gets ahead before leaving or spend a lot of time catching up which is almost impossible to do while keeping up with the work that is required.
I could never get excited about a holiday since it meant always doing five days work in four days, some holiday.
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