What is a logical/rationale method to implement for deciding when activities required for work are needed to be done by an employee to be considered as holiday or work day.

For example:

An international employee that is employed on a contract renewal basis. The employee is currently employed by the company that is renewing the contract and must go to immigration to renew a work visa on time of contract.

Given that immigration is only open during working hours of the company, what would this time away from work be considered. Is this day a vacation day for the employee or is it considered a working day?


1) Employee needs car to go to work. Getting a license renewed is a holiday.

2) Employee needs to take a legally required medical exam for company insurance. Going to the hospital for exam is not a holiday.

3) Employee needs to take mandatory sexual harassment training. It is not a holiday.

4) As it is a work visa, not everyone in the company will need to do this.

5) As DavidK points out in comments, some activies are required by the company, some activities are required by the government of the employee, and some are required by the government of the company.

  • @user1938107 - I am not certian what you are actually trying to ask. I think the answer is that is up to you. If you want to give them time to do this on the company dime do it. Most places would make me use PTO for these tasks, unless the missed time can be made up. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Mar 16 '15 at 21:38
  • All: I see four reopen votes and an edit that changed the question in a way that affects existing answers. The original question that those answers applied to was off-topic and the highest score among the answers is 2, so I'm inclined to allow this and have left comments on the answers. But do not take this as precedent. Edits that invalidate existing upvoted answers are generally not ok. – Monica Cellio Mar 18 '15 at 2:58

Is this day a vacation day for the employee or is it considered a working day?

When in doubt, ask your friendly HR representative about your company's policy. Don't be surprised, however, if they tell you that you need to take time off to deal with the issue.

For the sake of comparison, consider driver's licenses and automobile registration. Many people need to drive in order to get to work, and that often means that they need to visit the local Department of Motor Vehicles during business hours. Except for cases where such visits are actually part of the job (doing tag and title work for a car rental agency, for example), most companies that I know of would consider those chores to be your own personal business and would expect you either to take time off or to make up the time you missed.

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  • There is no precedent for this situation, which is why I am looking here for other peoples situation. The comparison seems to be different. If a person has no car, they are still legally allowed to work, even if it is difficult. If they have no visa, they cant legally work. Needing to get a license is like needing to go clothes shopping. – user-2147482637 Mar 13 '15 at 5:45
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    @user1938107: True. On the other hand, it's not the company's fault that you need a visa to work. After all, you could have changed citizenship, or arranged your birth somewhere else :-). – sleske Mar 13 '15 at 8:23
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    The car comparison holds more ground than you think. Without a drivers license you are still physically able to drive the car just like without a visa you are still physically able to work for your boss. It's just not legal. – Cronax Mar 13 '15 at 10:01
  • @Cronax physically able is not at issue, legally is. Also, the issue is about work, not other activities. Having a license does not constitute a legal issue with work, a "Work" visa does. – user-2147482637 Mar 13 '15 at 11:26
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    @user1938107 I look at it this way - the medical exam and training are things mandated by your company so that you can work. Renewing your license and your visa are things required by the government so that the company can allow you to work. Even if you drove for your job, I would expect that renewing your license would be on your own time. – David K Mar 13 '15 at 12:25

In this case, it's up to your company to decide how they want to handle this. They may need you to to have a visa in order to continue your employment, but it is your responsibility to arrange the extension of your visa in time. All you can do is talk to your boss and your company's HR department and ask them how they want to handle this.

In my experience, companies will require you to take time off for this sort of thing, but since you are unable to continue your employment without solving this issue, they won't make a fuss about approving it.

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  • The OP has edited to clarify that he's asking as management (to set a policy), not an employee. – Monica Cellio Mar 18 '15 at 2:56

It's possible to establish a company policy that pays people for activities away from the office that are not billable but are required, such as the medical exam you mention in your question. There's no particular law or rule that demands companies do so. Any given company might choose to deem immigration paperwork as a valid use of company time, or as a personal matter that should dealt with on your own (personal or vacation) time.

It's pretty easy to construct arguments either way. If your company has a policy, follow it. If they don't (and I assume you're asking because they don't) I would recommend not forcing the use of vacation for this. The employee will feel supported and will probably contribute back the time in happiness and increased productivity. To reduce the chance the other employees will be jealous, the employee should try to do other work while waiting if possible, should return to the office as soon as the process is done, and should not run other personal errands as part of the trip: in other words, treat it as a working day.

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  • I think your currently the only answer that gets the question. 'activities...that are not billable but are required' is the crux of the situation. I am wondering if the line can be drawn at what activities are required by all employees, and ones that are specific to a person, which would be the difference with immigration papers and medical exams – user-2147482637 Mar 13 '15 at 12:06
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    As I attempted to illustrate in my answer, the line is not a fixed point, it's up to company policy to decide where to place the line and even to decide if the line is always in the same place. You are unlikely to get a very specific answer saying X is a work day but Y is a day off because that is dependant on company policy, meaning only your company can tell you how things stand. – Cronax Mar 13 '15 at 12:19
  • the line can be drawn wherever you want. In the company I own, if you need a few hours off for a doctor or dentist appointment, you don't use up personal time, you just go and come back. But if you need a whole day, you do. Other places may be more or less generous. It's a business decision just like deciding whether to have free coffee in the office or not. – Kate Gregory Mar 13 '15 at 12:38
  • @KateGregory My question is geared towards a rational/logical reason that defines these rules. BTW, the edits have made it seem the question is an employee asking. The original was stated so that it is neutral, because in reality I can be an employee, employer, employee deciding with an employer, or an employer deciding with employees. In all cases, the question is to gauge others, not to ask if an employee should ask hr questions online – user-2147482637 Mar 13 '15 at 12:42
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    Since when has rational/logical reasoning driven company policy decisions ;) In all seriousness, the range of policies across companies is very wide. The more critical factor is that they are applied uniformly by management, no playing favorites. – cdkMoose Mar 13 '15 at 16:29

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