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I have worked for 17 years in a small company where I report directly to the president. He is the only employee above me. One other employee has been here as long as I have, and two others are within a couple of years of us (three of us are senior-level managers, the fourth is a lower-level supervisor). Aside from we four, there are no other employees anywhere close to having our seniority. We are also the longest-term employees the company has EVER had.

Our company policy allows for one week of paid vacation after one year, two weeks after three years, and three weeks after five years. I am trying to decide how to go about petitioning the president for an additional one week after 15 years (15 years = four weeks).

  • Is 20 days of paid vacation after 15+ years unreasonable?
  • And how should I go about it - should I do it alone? Should I involve the other very senior staff members (who I know would be interested)?
  • What do we say?

closed as off-topic by Jim G., Philip Kendall, gnat, Chris E, IDrinkandIKnowThings Jul 12 '16 at 20:17

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    Assuming you're in the USA, as if you were in the UK or Europe you'd likely have STARTED with 20 days. In fact I've just moved back to Canada and the new job has 20 days+ so I'd say it's reasonable. – The Wandering Dev Manager Jul 11 '16 at 23:25
  • If you also have sick time, another thing you might consider is asking the boss to fold it all together into a paid time off format. It would simplify his bookkeeping and give you more time if you don't typically use sick time. That said, 20 days for 17 years is definitely reasonable and typical as well. As for whether you do it alone or not, I would certainly ask some of the other people there how they would feel about making such a change. If they all like it, you can say so when you talk to the boss. – BobRodes Jul 12 '16 at 1:14
  • @TheWanderingDevManager Average starting vacation time in my country is 27 days, and it increases naturally the longer you work at a place for most people. – Magisch Jul 12 '16 at 7:03
  • Christ. My first job, I had 30 paid vacation days per year. Pretty normal here. – cbll Jul 12 '16 at 9:08
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    @Magisch - that was kinda my point, the OP asked is 20 days reasonable after 17 years of service, I'm saying in a big part of the world it's an absolute minimum, not an aspiration. – The Wandering Dev Manager Jul 12 '16 at 10:16
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I am trying to decide how to go about petitioning the president for an additional one week after 15 years (15 years = four weeks).

Is 20 days of paid vacation after 15+ years unreasonable?

It seems very reasonable to me.

And how should I go about it - should I do it alone? Should I involve the other very senior staff members (who I know would be interested)?

I tend to prefer to negotiate these sorts of things alone. It's far easier for one person to be granted a benefit than to get a complete policy change.

If the names of the others comes up in your discussion, you could include them as well, but I wouldn't start there.

What do we say?

You should just remind the president how long you have been there and what the current vacation policy provides.

You should indicate the changes that you want.

And if you have information regarding the vacation policy for other companies in your domain that supports your request, you should mention that as well.

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Is 20 days of paid vacation after 15+ years unreasonable?

Personally, I think less than 20 days paid vacation is unreasonable even at 1 year - but then, that's the legal minimum in Australia.

What you have to consider is what is normal for your locale and industry, and then negotiate from that.

And how should I go about it - should I do it alone? Should I involve the other very senior staff members (who I know would be interested)?

Collective bargaining can be powerful - but I wouldn't get all of the senior staff members in a room with your president as that could be deemed threatening/intimidating.

I would talk to the senior staff members and appoint a spokesperson - define how far he can go in negotiating before having to return to the group to discuss.

Make sure your president knows your spokesperson is representing all the senior staff member.

What do we say?

Point out the work you do - I assume that as senior staff members, you are salaried, and therefore end up putting in more than a minimum 40-hour week (I believe the term in the US is "exempt").

Point out your loyalty and long service.

Maybe explain why you'd like the extra time (families).

Do not threaten - do not state it as an "or else". Simply say "we'd like you to consider awarding an extra 5 days paid vacation to the senior staff".

If your president is a reasonable person, they'd probably award the extra week.

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In many companies in the US, 20 days of vacation (separate from medical time off) is now the _ maximum _ that is being offered under the standard policy. (I have 25 only because I acquired that last week before the policy change took effect.)

Note that a week of vacation is equal in value to a week of your full burden rate, salary plus benefits plus cost of your office space plus cost of delaying the project. That can be roughly estimated as twice your salary alone. Roughly approximating a work year as 50 weeks, this means asking for a week of paid vacation is equivalent to asking the company for a 2%-4% salary increase plus a week of unpaid leave. That isn't a small request in today's climate, but isn't entirely unreasonable if you have shown that you are worth that much.

Find out what the policy is. If you are capped at three weeks and the policy can't be changed, try to get a raise plus permission to take some additional unpaid leave at some mutually convenient time. If you can't get that, ask what they would need to see from you before they would authorize that.

Good luck.

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