My company, like most every other company, has a published list of paid holidays. In December, the only paid day off is the 25th. Last year, everyone was notified that the office would be closed the entire week of the 25th and that we would be expected to use vacation time for the 21st-24th.
This struck me as unethical, since we are given a set number of personal vacation days in a year, but some of those days are basically pre-allocated to this week when we are forced to use four of them. I could argue that the company is either being disingenuous when hiring employees and stating that they would receive X vacation days (they should be saying X-4) or I could argue that the company is overstepping social boundaries by surprising its employees by taking away vacation time that an employee may have been planning to use for another purpose. Am I in the wrong for thinking that if a company wishes to close its offices voluntarily (e.g. not due to financial issues, natural disaster, etc.) that they should "eat" the loss and essentially create bonus vacation days for that period?
When speaking with friends, I learned that other companies do this as well and some people saw it as normal and others were as flummoxed as I was. This is not a question about a specific company or policy, but about general business practices, ethical HR policies, and managing employee expectations.