I recently learned that a new policy means that vacation time and sick time in my office is counted against our 'utilization' goal (time spent on productive work). As such, if a member of my team takes enough PTO in a month they cannot reach this utilization goal and will not receive their earned commission.

I have filed a complaint with HR as this contradicts what is stated in the employee handbook. My manager then contacted me regarding my complaint.

Is it appropriate for my boss to contact me regarding this? Is it fair or a breach of employment contract to say that our PTO is counted as 'lost time' against us? Should I speak with my boss or keep it to HR? I am not in a union.

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    Hi, welcome to The Workplace. Unfortunately, your question is off-topic here. We don't do polls here, you will have to trim down your post to include a practically answerable question, that does not depend on your specific company's policy. – Masked Man Sep 15 '17 at 2:40
  • Ok, I've edited to try to be on topic. The verbiage 'poll' was used to simply to ask for answers. I hope I am in line with expectations in the workplace. – tr241009 Sep 15 '17 at 2:44
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    Rather than filing a complaint, maybe you should first just talk to your manager. Why does taking a holiday count against your "utilization" time and what does this time mean (will you be paid less?). What is the correct way to take vacation without penalty? – Brandin Sep 15 '17 at 9:04
  • @Brandin Yes, I will lose commission by not hitting the goal recently imposed. As for why, I suspect it is to discourage taking 3, 4, or 5 PTO days in a month. Correct way, according to my manager, is to spread out your vacation. – tr241009 Sep 15 '17 at 14:35
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    Please add a country tag. Spreading out paid vacation like suggested would not even be legal in my country. – nvoigt Sep 15 '17 at 16:26

I think you need to go over your work contract with a fine toothed comb as it should specify your salary and other compensation. If your contract states you have x days of paid vacation time, that's it - your pay should not be "docked" when you take time off. I have to say, though, that it's really not clear how you are penalized for taking vacation, I'm just trusting that you "are".

Regarding how your manager has responded, I think this is somewhat to be expected. My opinion, based on the wee bit of information offered, is that you should have talked to your supervisor about this issue first, then escalated it to HR if that discussion proved fruitless.

  • thanks for the response. We will lose any earned commission in a month if enough PTO is taken. Under this new policy, not in my contract, it is not discounted toward the 'utilization' goal. So 40 hours on PTO is 40 hours that I essentially did nothing at work. – tr241009 Sep 15 '17 at 14:33
  • And it is in fact 40 hours when you are not productive. Anyplace I have worked it was part of the utilization calculation, but those hours were also properly figured into the utilization percentage expected (so expected utilization wasn't 90% but some figure less than that to account for vacation, etc). I have never had a commission based on this though. Personally, I think you should consult an employment lawyer. – HLGEM Sep 18 '17 at 18:16

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