86

A while back, I had asked for 3 day off from work, 2 days before my vacation, my boss asked me whether I was interested in a one-day class during my vacation (3 days off). I agreed because the class was only given once every few months or I'd have to wait for the next one. I attended this class and it was a great informative class. this was around mid February.

Today, I saw that the day of the class was still listed as a day off, and when I asked my boss about it, he said that I was not at work so it counts as a day off.

Is this a common thing?

I work/live in the Netherlands and my field of work is IT.

By 'class' I mean a course/training session related to my work that my boss paid for. My boss offered it to me without me mentioning it beforehand.

I'm currently in my last week of work for this company, that's the reason I checked how many days off I have left and found out about this. We do not have a HR department since the company I work for is small (5-6 people).

About the trust being broken read this question about how that was shattered a while back.

closed as off-topic by gnat, Twyxz, Jenny D, JazzmanJim, Dmitry Grigoryev Mar 26 at 14:49

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  • 6
    I don't know what is the system in Netherlands specifically but don't you have a form or any official documentation that you have to submit to your employer for taking time off, precisely for the documentation? This piece of information is missing. You said you asked for 3 days, but you don't say how many you were granted and took. There should be official paper trail for this. It's not common to go to work-related courses on free time, but it's also uncommon to forbid it. What's common is to follow official timesheets. – luk32 Mar 25 at 16:48
  • 3
    You are leaving anyway, so there is no sense picking a fight about this. If you really feel strongly about it, just take a day off in your last week and pretend you were sick. If you say you had a hangover after celebrating getting a new job, what can your old boss do about that? – alephzero Mar 25 at 18:28
  • @luk32 I've never had such a form at any company I've worked at. At my current workplace, it's as simple as saying to my manager "can I take Monday off?" and then putting "John ~ Holiday" in my Google Calendar. The only difference here is that I have to maintain a Google Sheets document of days I worked in the month, whereas at my old workplace I didn't have to even do that. – John_ReinstateMonica Mar 26 at 2:39
  • Who will the class benefit? You personally, only; or also the company (by having benefit of a worker smarter in your task areas)? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Mar 26 at 4:04
  • 2
    As you are already leaving, you might not want to enter this discussion. Depending on the exact wording in your contract and what you agreed to, they might be in their right to recuperate the cost of the training anyway. – Mark Rotteveel Mar 26 at 10:51

12 Answers 12

162

No this is not common. Your manager is trying to take advantage of you. If the class is work related then it doesn't matter that you are not at work, it needs to be treated as a work day. You need to ask your manager to remove the day off as you will be attending a work related class. If he refuses, then inform him that you will not be attending a class on your day off. Regardless, you might want to search for a new company to work for.

  • 26
    Also to mention that the OP has already sent his notice, so he's leaving the company anyway. – Xander Mar 25 at 14:04
  • 5
    If it was not at your workplace make sure to check if you are legally obliged to get compensation for travel/food. Also the travel from/to your place of work might count as work time (even if you didn't go to your workplace first) – Josef Mar 25 at 16:16
  • 21
    It's vacation, not sick leave. In Germany, if your employer asked you to work while you're sick, he's committing a crime. If he's asking you to work and then marking it as vacation, he's also committing a crime. He's basically stealing a day of work's pay. I don't know about the laws in the Netherlands, but I'd be surprised if they're different. Talk to HR, inform them of what happened, make sure they don't take the vacation day. – xyious Mar 25 at 17:35
  • 3
    @xyious Ok, but you seem to be overlooking an important technicality. The boss never sent OP for the training, they asked if OP wants to go, it was just a notification. I cannot imagine a boss "marking vacations" for employees without their knowledge, it's important paper work, at my locale employee files for free time. I suspect boss made OP go out of their free will. Sick-leave was an example (hence the IF) because the consequences are more grave. OP using company money during their free time could even make them liable. It seems you didn't read the question. There is no HR. – luk32 Mar 25 at 23:43
  • 4
    As a Dutch person, I’m not a lawyer but I’m pretty sure this is illegal too. At the very least the boss’ argument that ‘if you weren’t at work you don’t get paid’ is absolute nonsense. I attended several conferences in company time, at no point was there any question of doing that in my own time. – Sebastiaan van den Broek Mar 26 at 4:41
44

In hindsight, you should have negotiated the effect this had on your holiday days before accepting the course.

Sure, if you cancel that day's holiday, I'll attend.

Since (I assume) the course is related to your work, you should now head to HR and tell them what happened and ask for them to strike off that day's holiday time so that you can use it for your own PTO.

If that doesn't work out for you, you might have to suck this one up and put it down to experience. Be really careful about your manager redirecting your PTO in future.

  • 2
    Company has no HR dep. as stated on op's question. – Pedro Lobito Mar 25 at 23:28
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    @PedroLobito: Correct but because stuff like this gets made dupe targets and the next one probably will I upvoted anyway. I'm not on this site enough to take issue with the dupe policy. – Joshua Mar 26 at 3:04
  • By "suck it up" I assume you mean take the holiday as holiday and handle any resultant fallout. I assume you don't mean simply acquiescing and working a full day without pay. I mean there's "unreasonable employer requests" and then there's being browbeaten by the org into literally working for no money... – benxyzzy Mar 26 at 14:45
17

Is this a common thing?

No, it's not.

As long as the training is related to your profession and helps you make a better employee (and even also a human being), it's a part of the "job".

You need to reach out to your HR. Maybe your boss is misreading or misinterpreting (deliberately or unintentionally) the company policies.


edit:

I'm currently in my last week of work for this company, [....] We do not have a HR department since the company I work for is small (5-6 people).

Well, then he played a little trick. There's really nothing much you can do. Just move on and take this as an experience.

  • 9
    In my experience, you can receive the paid time at the end of your period of employment, or get paid directly for accrued time. You certainly can do something. The trick the OP's boss played is called wage theft. – De Novo supports GoFundMonica Mar 25 at 19:40
  • 7
    I'm disappointed with how many people's advice here is "just don't pay attention to something illegal because you are leaving". Isn't this the perfect time to oust the illegal activity and get fairly compensated for what you are owed by law? Sure, there is merit in trying to avoid confrontation but I don't think this should be the predominant advice - "it's fine to have illegal acts forced on you, as long as they won't repeat". What's next - "don't file a police report if you get robbed - it's not like you're going to get robbed all the time"? – VLAZ Mar 26 at 7:41
  • @VLAZ (1) prove it's illegal - I certainly do not have access to OP's company policies.[notice the maybe in my answer]. (2) Sure, you can fight all you want, is is worth your time? (3) Correct, what is you are employed by the robbers? – Sourav Ghosh Mar 26 at 7:44
  • @VLAZ It's not the answers say here to turn a blind eye to illegal things: It's simply to learn from mistakes and move on, because pursuing that matter would not be worthy of the return-on-investment point of view. YMMV. – Sourav Ghosh Mar 26 at 7:44
  • @SouravGhosh OK, let me quote something here "As long as the training is related to your profession and helps you make a better employee (and even also a human being), it's a part of the "job"." - it seems illegal to work on your offdays without compensation. – VLAZ Mar 26 at 7:45
14

No, this is not common among reputable management. Your boss knows darn well that they stiffed you and if they are this petty then trying to get that day back from them will uncover further levels of pettiness.


Based on your previous question combined with this one I would suggest to just learn from this experience and move on.

Besides, you have taken more sick days than allowed, right? Were you paid for all of those days? If so, then I would call it "even".


Far too many people are willing to die on a molehill and if one is not readily available then they build their own.

^ Don't be one of these people.

  • Not sure what your problem is. People upvoted the comment because it's a valid rephrasing of your point in the OP's favour. But if you're choosing to make this a molehill you want to fight over, then enjoy your molehill. – Graham Mar 26 at 14:14
8

Today, I saw that the day of the class was still listed as a day off, and when I asked my boss about it, he said that I was not at work so it counts as a day off.

Is this a common thing?

No, absolutely not.

I'm currently in my last week of work for this company.

Well, that changes things. Did you really think your company would send to a class on company time in the last week you are working for them? What benefit to the company does you going to that class have?

Your boss could have made it more clear to you that going to class would be in your own time -- but you should also have been more proactive and have asked for details (who pays for it, on whose time, etc) when he offered.

  • "Did you really think your company would send to a class on company time in the last week you are working for them?" that happened "around mid February" - about a month ago. The previous question from OP was also a month ago. It's not exactly clear, but very likely that the resignation wasn't submitted when the training happened. Or even if it was, then that makes it very odd to suggest the training. – VLAZ Mar 26 at 7:48
  • 1
    @VLAZ: Compared to most countries, the Netherlands has very long_ notice periods. When resigning in February, the effective end date would typically be March 31st (last date of next month). – MSalters Mar 26 at 9:50
  • @MSalters again I am basing this on the previous question - posted on the 20th of February 2019. The update from the 27th of February says "[my boss] would not renew my contract". OP now has 1 week left. It's unclear the dispute and the resolultion happened before or after the training but it seems a bit illogical to be before. Do you have anything to firmly suggest the training either a) happened the last week of employment b) was after the dispute? – VLAZ Mar 26 at 10:05
  • @VLAZ: Looking at the linked question, it seems there's no resignation at all. That's not unusual in the Netherlands; you can have definite contracts - the most common ones being definite end date contracts. – MSalters Mar 26 at 10:12
  • @MSalters yes, it was my bad to call it "resignation", when I meant "decision to leave the company". This question is still incorrect in suggesting a) this happened now instead of a month ago b) this happened before it was known OP would be leaving the company. – VLAZ Mar 26 at 10:17
5

Note: This answer applies to required education/courses to fulfill your agreement

What your employer did is unlawful according to this. In the Netherlands there is a workplace law called "Scholingsplicht" that, summed up, says:

An employer is required to make all necessary provisions for the employee to be able to do his/her job (fulfill the contract/agreement). This includes required additional education, courses, etc.

In Dutch terminology, this also includes travel expenses (and any expenses you incur for your work), but these details can be found in your agreement (or CAO if applicable).

Do note that the law does not say anything about paying your hourly wage, if you need assurance then the logical step is to setup and both sign a studiekostenovereenkomst where both parties agree on the terms of the additional courses, schooling, costs/salary etc.

If you voluntarily can take the course, it is allowed to not count as "work".

  • Actually, the first link states the exact opposite of what you claim. The employer gave a choice, which makes it voluntary and therefore not work time. Had it been required, then it would have been work time. You are right to refer to the CAO, because it can deviate from the default rules. – MSalters Mar 26 at 9:45
  • @MSalters ah right! Skimmed a bit too fast :) Thanks for pointing out. – Gizmo Mar 26 at 9:49
  • Also, IT so there's no CAO, and he's already resigned so you're not going to get a studiekostenovereenkomst either. – MSalters Mar 26 at 9:56
3

As you work in a sector where getting a new decent job is quite easy, you still have "negotiation power". I would have a serious face-to-face conversation with my boss, explaining him the "misunderstanding" and the reasons why you are not happy about these events.

Ask politely for the fair thing to be done. If he refuses, start looking for a new job, after all, if they can cheat you on one silly "day off", there may be plenty of other things where they will take advantage of you (if they aren't already)

3

I will counter that it IS common in my area: Specifically, I am a contractor in the US, and it is common for employers to offer to pay the cost of training with the qualification that the time itself is unpaid. Larger companies may even have an education allowance. If you wanted to take a class during the week, you could use paid time off to fill the gap in your hours, so that your paycheck would not be reduced. (Often such classes are offered on the weekends anyway or we flex our hours to still fit in the same number of billable hours around our class.) These courses usually offer some certificate or similar that you can use as a justification for a pay increase.

The main difference is that a reputable company is upfront about what can and cannot be charged! For example, "Come to corporate HQ for a meeting (charge 1 hour to overhead)." or "You are invited to our holiday party (no chargable time)." We also fill in time cards so our time is billed correctly, so it would be clear right away how much time you're charging and how much time you're taking as vacation.

  • 1
    Yes, this. Where I work this is also common for trainings or events where the employee wants to go. If the company would not normally send the employee, but employee would like to go, often the compromise will be "we will pay the event fee if you take time off to attend". Of course, if the employer wants you to go, it's work and thus paid. – sleske Mar 26 at 8:16
  • If it is at the employer's behest it is legally considered 'work' in the USA and you are entitled to pay for hours worked. Contracting is different but contracting as you speak of it is mostly a thing because it's in the employer's favor, which this is an example of. – Adonalsium Mar 26 at 14:24
0

Considering that you have already taken the course, I would recommend documenting that this should be counted as work and that this has been refused. Once you have left the company you can then inform the company that you will be pursuing them for the debt of the unpaid day's work.

I am assuming that the Netherlands has some sort of small claims court which you could pursue the company through or an employment tribunal. Waiting until after you have left will avoid any blow back. Hopefully they will not contest it and compensate you once you suggest legal avenues.

  • No "small claims court", but the regular courts do have a simplified procedure (no lawyer required) for small claims. – MSalters Mar 26 at 9:55
0

In your case they paid for a class for a resigned employee, one that you liked and found greatly informative. I'd be careful about accusing them of taking advantage of you.

Your title says that they asked you to take the class, your description say that they asked you if you wanted to take the class. That's a very significant difference.

I've definitely had deals with employers where we split the voluntary investment on the growth of my personal skills and I don't see anything strange with that. They can pay for the conference fee and the days off, while I pay for the travel and accommodation for example.

You should have asked for clarification if you expected to get paid for the time as well. Especially since you've already resigned.

0

Is this a common thing? I work/live in the Netherlands and my field of work is IT.

Yes, in the Netherlands it is common practice to do courses, trainings and/or educations in your own time (days off) on the costs of your boss. If the course is not obligatory, but voluntary applied for or agreed upon. However, this practice usually tends to happen within smaller companies and companies that are not financially stable.

Take my talk on law with a grain of salt, I am not a lawyer, but I am the owner of a IT company in the Netherlands

Unless described differently in a CAO (which more often, if not always, is not the case in Dutch IT companies) or in your Contract.

The Dutch law differentiates between obligatory courses, and voluntarily courses. If the course was mandatory, they would have to respect the fact that your time off, is your time off. And would have to either pay your for the hours spend, or compensate you by the means of hours off.

However, if you voluntarily agreed to take the course in your spare time. Which is what I am assuming by the phrasing of your very first paragraph. Then the company is not obliged to pay for the time, or give you time off in return. This because you could have spend the time in other ways.

  • 1
    I work in IT in the Netherlands (10+ years) and not ever did I have to take a day off to follow a training/course during office hours. Especially not if my boss would offer it. Only community organised events (during evenings), I had to do in my own time. They are also 100% optional. I wouldn't say this is common practice. – Caroline Mar 26 at 11:45
  • 1
    @Caroline I've worked in IT for ~ 10 years now as well, and can say most of these companies with the exception of 2, did not pay for hours, or return free time when it was a optional course. Now as a company owner of a small IT company, I must say I do actually respect it as work hours. Non the less, I would not be obligated too. – DXM Mar 26 at 12:46
-3

In the Netherlands I noticed that nowadays this is quite common. Ever since the bank managers moved away from banks to other parts of the world (which started happening after the bank crisis of 2008) we can notice such behaviour more and more.

The sad thing is that in the Netherlands at least you find politics always side with the managers, so if you even bring this up the laws will be changed to favour your manager before you get any money.

Sure it is not right, but it happens and you have to learn to live with it and make the best out of the given situation we are in.

  • 1
    This reads more like a rant than an answer. And as a Dutch person living abroad, I can assure you employees are well protected in the Netherlands, compared to elsewhere. – Sebastiaan van den Broek Mar 26 at 4:35

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