April 12, 2022

How Are You Handling Vacations This Year?

By Paul Bieber

Huh? What is going on? Thinking about summer now when there are so many more important thoughts. Ukraine, COVID, baseball, and “vacations” was all I could come up with? Well, you have read this far, so give up three minutes and read the rest of this blog.

Everyone wants their summer vacation. They want to visit the beach with their kids or travel to see grandma in another state. It is late to start scheduling summer vacations– but now is better than later.

Send each of your employees a note detailing the number of days or hours they have available for vacation for the rest of 2022. Ask them what days they would like to take off. If you are the luckiest person in the world, you will get the answers back within a week and no one will crossover another person’s request. Go buy that lottery ticket.

Really, you will need some rules explained. If you have an employee handbook, and there are rules in it, you are in the 2% of companies that have gone this far. Here are some basic rules to consider:

  • Vacation requests must be turned in within three weeks of this note going out or they will not be scheduled until all other requests are fulfilled. Other than emergencies, vacation requests should be made no less than three weeks before the first day of vacation. Management should answer the request within three days.
  • After management decides how many folks can be out simultaneously, overlapping dates will be determined based on seniority.
  • Management can and should decide if folks with more than two weeks of earned vacation can take the time in one block or if a maximum can be taken at one time; for instance, only two weeks.
  • Folks who take a “sick day” on the day before or after a scheduled vacation will not be paid for that day unless there is a doctor’s note.
  • Management will decide which folks should call in during their vacation and how often. This will usually apply to specified leaders of the company.
  • Vacation time taken during a time of a company holiday gives the employee the extra day or days.
  • Vacation should be taken in at least half-day increments.

Do you let employees borrow vacation time against the next year? For instance, they have eight vacation days accrued and want to take 10 days. Is this without pay or against next year? Either way you go is fine, but have a firm policy.

Can employees take money for unused vacation time? This can cost a company quite a bit of money over an already approved budget. Some companies allow this in emergency situations, but not as a regular benefit.

How much vacation time do you allow an employee to have as a reserve? Most companies won’t hold longer than two years’ worth. Never, never allow an employee not to take at least one week’s vacation. No matter what occurs. People who don’t let someone take their job duties for a week or two are candidates for fraud!

In the tight job market we are in, vacation time is becoming a great recruitment tool. New employees should have at least one week in their first year, after 90 days of employment; second-year employees should be at two weeks. Eight-year folks are getting three weeks and folks with 15 years are getting four weeks.

Be sure to schedule your own time off, making sure your “A” team is fully at work.


Baseball is more fun than scheduling vacations.