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In our company we have a vacation policy where employees have a set amount of days. We used to keep all vacation in a shared outlook calendar based on honor system, and finally graduated to a system where tracking is much more explicit. We now have 55 employees - the honor system was beginning to break down.

The question is, what happens when an employee uses all their vacation time in a given year? Should managers be allowed to grant additional vacation days if they believe it's justified? This is what we do currently. But seems to open up a can of worms... should negative vacation balance be carried over into future years?

At previous companies, I have see "unpaid vacation" come into play as a solution.

Anybody have any experience with this specific decision - and pros/cons? (Meaning - how to handle when an employee has used up all of their time, and wants to take additional vacation)

closed as primarily opinion-based by Chris E, Jan Doggen, NotMe, Adam V, Joe Strazzere Dec 3 '14 at 18:05

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Yes. Although this question is now on-hold so apparently this is not the place to look for opinions. More black/white answers. In my opinion, I think a limit, of 15 days for example, should be strict. If an employee wishes to use beyond that, it should be given as unpaid time. By allowing managers to grant additional vacation days seems to create some inequity. Although there are no hard/fast rules - this may be way to subjective to ask here. – hrguy Dec 3 '14 at 18:12
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You need management to either enforce the policies they have written, or expand the information in the written policies.

  • Many companies allow carry over, but some don't;
  • many companies allow negative balances, but some don't;
  • many companies allow employees to turn excess days into cash, but some don't;
  • many companies allow leave without pay, but some don't;
  • some companies allow employees to purchase extra vacation days, but many don't.
  • many companies pay cash for unused vacation days when a employee leaves the company, but some don't.

The same sort of options are available for sick days, some companies even combine vacation and sick days into one pot of days.

All options help somebody and are either neutral or hurt other people. There is no perfect policy. Management needs to determine how much flexibility they want their employees to have, and what they will do to enforce those policies. Enforcement goes beyond an outlook calendar, and may involve employees having to payback for negative balances.

Of course management must also be cognizant of laws that apply to the places they have employees, and any existing contracts or union agreements.

  • The written policy is you get X days per year, and that "Additional non-paid vacation days may be considered in order to extend vacations" - which makes the additional granting of paid vacation days by managers (what is actually happening) seem at odds with written policy – hrguy Dec 3 '14 at 14:08
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    @hrguy It doesn't really make much sense to ask us what your company's edge cases are, you should ask them. – Jonast92 Dec 3 '14 at 14:31
  • I don't recall asking about edge cases... I am asking - has anyone experienced any disadvantages to supervisors allowing employees to take beyond the defined number of days vacation? And how does the vacation system account for these additional days? – hrguy Dec 3 '14 at 18:02

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