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Canada's vacation politics

Canada's vacation politics

Old Jul 4th 2017, 1:18 am
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Default Canada's vacation politics

I wanted to start another thread to discuss with other expats how they feel on the subject of vacation in Canada and how they handle it with being so far away from family and having such little time off.

My opinion and story:

I am moving back to the UK in January, after just a year in the great white north I quickly discovered summer is very short and winter is long and arid and cold. One of the biggest parts of my decision to move back is vacation, travel was easy around the world from the UK as its affordable for the masses, taking vacation was easy also. In my profession 5 weeks holiday was obtainable from start date with all my jobs I had.

So here in Canada I have to do with a measly 2 weeks, I tried to get 4 when I started and was told after 6 months they will review it, well that happened and nothing changed, let alone that my boss doesn't want me to take any vacation as they need me at work (part of the reason I was hired is a total lack of resource in my profession here in Canada). So everybody turns on me when I take vacation. I'm not alone either my girlfriend who moved with me is just a dental admin and the same happens with her. Sure I have a nicer apartment than I would have in the UK, and overall more disposable income, but for the minor lifestyle advantage the old cliché of ''money doesn't by happiness, comes to mind''. I took 2 weeks this year and a week unpaid I had a fight to get the week off unpaid and complete awkwardness and an argument with the owner of the company over it.

I talked to colleagues and have interviewed for other jobs in my profession here and vacation is a huge deal over here. Of course I knew that I only had 2 weeks when I moved out here, and read of forums about taking unpaid time and was prepared to do it. The pure fact is even if you get 2 weeks or 3 weeks your employer wants you to take that, and thats all in most circumstances, no unpaid, no nothing.

Also this is a sad story, one of the people who works at a different company who I'm friends with, he went back to Germany as his dad was dieing of cancer, this was in January, when he was there his dad died, he was off for a total of one whole month. His company did not pay him for 2 weeks of it, and the other 2 weeks were vacation. So now he has no vacation for the whole year, and he didn't get paid, also the company is treating him like sh*t, and making him do all the awful jobs, as if punishing him for it. WTF is going on here? LOL.

After all what is the point in all the working if you can't travel and can't see your family.


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Old Jul 4th 2017, 1:43 am
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Default Re: Canada's vacation politics

It's not as if it's a big secret.. Some people are able to negotiate more leave but the majority have to put up with what they get.

If you knew this before you came, why are you so surprised? Sorry, not meaning to sound contentious but it appears you thought you could negotiate more - and when you couldn't, you didn't like it.

It is sad about your friend, but unless the company had a compassionate leave agreement, that's just the way it is.

It doesn't make it right.. but it's a known fact that the vacation time is very lacking compared to europe.

https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-...-vacation.html

Annual Leave-Canada : British Expat Wiki

In the UK, the majority of people are entitled to 5 weeks vacation, by the way. https://www.gov.uk/holiday-entitleme...ts/entitlement

Best of luck with your move

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Old Jul 4th 2017, 2:11 am
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Default Re: Canada's vacation politics

Originally Posted by Siouxie View Post
It's not as if it's a big secret.. Some people are able to negotiate more leave but the majority have to put up with what they get.

If you knew this before you came, why are you so surprised? Sorry, not meaning to sound contentious but it appears you thought you could negotiate more - and when you couldn't, you didn't like it.

It is sad about your friend, but unless the company had a compassionate leave agreement, that's just the way it is.

It doesn't make it right.. but it's a known fact that the vacation time is very lacking compared to europe.

https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-...-vacation.html

Annual Leave-Canada : British Expat Wiki

In the UK, the majority of people are entitled to 5 weeks vacation, by the way. https://www.gov.uk/holiday-entitleme...ts/entitlement

Best of luck with your move
Five weeks now? Wow. I've gotten use to two weeks. Not sure I would know what to do with five.

To be fair to the OP I think you also don't quite realize how little it is until literally you're in the job and that's all you get!!

I'm gradually going down the self employed route. That way I can take time off when I want to, within reason... just have to earn the money to make it worth while!
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Old Jul 4th 2017, 2:13 am
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Default Re: Canada's vacation politics

I get 5 weeks here, not all companies are so miserly....
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Old Jul 4th 2017, 2:37 am
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Default Re: Canada's vacation politics

Originally Posted by dgagitw View Post
I get 5 weeks here, not all companies are so miserly....
I find its almost 1 in 10 that get that, and usually thats either because they are really high up management or they have been at the company some ridiculous amount of time (e.g. 20 years)

But just be glad your in the minority and get that 5 weeks

Originally Posted by DandNHill View Post
Five weeks now? Wow. I've gotten use to two weeks. Not sure I would know what to do with five.

To be fair to the OP I think you also don't quite realize how little it is until literally you're in the job and that's all you get!!

I'm gradually going down the self employed route. That way I can take time off when I want to, within reason... just have to earn the money to make it worth while!
That's a really good idea, I wish I could go self employed.

I did know the vacation was bad before I came, but I just assumed most people had more time off and took time unpaid. I didn't know that there was a whole politics behind it and employers just want you to take your allocated time. I think it is probably easier to take a couple of weeks off unpaid in the UK + your 5 weeks LOL!!
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Old Jul 4th 2017, 2:40 am
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Default Re: Canada's vacation politics

Originally Posted by lukesmith2 View Post
I find its almost 1 in 10 that get that, and usually thats either because they are really high up management or they have been at the company some ridiculous amount of time (e.g. 20 years)

But just be glad your in the minority and get that 5 weeks



That's a really good idea, I wish I could go self employed.

I did know the vacation was bad before I came, but I just assumed most people had more time off and took time unpaid. I didn't know that there was a whole politics behind it and employers just want you to take your allocated time. I think it is probably easier to take a couple of weeks off in the UK + your 5 weeks LOL!!
It's a weird thing. I only took 9 days off in a previous job as I was desperate to save the other day in case I needed it. Ended up getting paid it when I left!
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Old Jul 4th 2017, 2:54 am
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Default Re: Canada's vacation politics

Originally Posted by lukesmith2 View Post
I find its almost 1 in 10 that get that, and usually thats either because they are really high up management or they have been at the company some ridiculous amount of time (e.g. 20 years)

But just be glad your in the minority and get that 5 weeks



That's a really good idea, I wish I could go self employed.

I did know the vacation was bad before I came, but I just assumed most people had more time off and took time unpaid. I didn't know that there was a whole politics behind it and employers just want you to take your allocated time. I think it is probably easier to take a couple of weeks off unpaid in the UK + your 5 weeks LOL!!
I've been self-employed here and an employee. If you think self-employment guarantees more vacation time, particularly in the early years of running your own business, you might want to think again. I regularly worked 7 days a week for 6 months at a time, and when I wasn't working, I wasn't earning.

Your experience as an employee and the sector you work in isn't necessarily typical. I get 5 weeks vacation currently and can take additional time unpaid if I so wish, as long as my workload is managed effectively. Three colleagues have taken a month off each over the summer.
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Old Jul 4th 2017, 4:06 am
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Default Re: Canada's vacation politics

bit of a pet peeve of mine but a lot of people do not compare apples with apples when it comes to paid time off.

in the UK the legal min is 28 days. for all paid time off

in Canada you get a min of 10 to 20 days vacation plus statutory holidays.

So in SK the min is 15 plus 10 stats so 25 paid days per year or 30 days if they have 10 years with their employer.

Don't get me wrong there are plenty people in the UK that get more than 28 days i think i was 37 all in when i left and there is definitely a tendency to give the legal minimum and little more.

In terms of taking vacation everyone i work with takes vacation more taken in the winter than the summer.
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Old Jul 4th 2017, 4:16 am
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Default Re: Canada's vacation politics

Originally Posted by R I C H View Post
I've been self-employed here and an employee. If you think self-employment guarantees more vacation time, particularly in the early years of running your own business, you might want to think again. I regularly worked 7 days a week for 6 months at a time, and when I wasn't working, I wasn't earning.

Your experience as an employee and the sector you work in isn't necessarily typical. I get 5 weeks vacation currently and can take additional time unpaid if I so wish, as long as my workload is managed effectively. Three colleagues have taken a month off each over the summer.
Agreed,
I've been self employed for 4/5 years and took my first week of vacation in all that time this March. Last year I had flu and couldn't work for a month - so there was no chance of taking any time off for leisure or pleasure.

Yes, theoretically you can take time off at will, however, with bills to pay, taxes to pay, CPP to pay.. and money that has to be put aside for the lean times - unless you have a good income you really can't afford to take a lot of time off. I work a minimum of 45 hours a week and normally work 6 days.. I take 3 days off for Christmas but that's it.

Being self employed, there's no guarantee of income... so you end up working more hours because you don't know if next month your income will reduce!

I had more time off when I was employed!

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Old Jul 4th 2017, 8:55 am
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Default Re: Canada's vacation politics

You may be spending more of your holidays in Butlins or similar after Brexit. Euro travel might not be so easy/cheap then.

I think there must be other things about Canada that don't suit you, not just the holiday time!
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Old Jul 4th 2017, 9:47 am
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Default Re: Canada's vacation politics

This is an interesting post for me, as this is one of my major doubts on moving to Canada.

I am well aware of the 2 week annual leave policy, however I also read that it depends on so many other factors the major one being if you can negotiate extra leave into your contract.

My thinking was that I would be trying to achieve starting out 2 weeks standard and 2 weeks unpaid, with the aim to increase this to 3 weeks annual leave after 12-24 months of working with a company.

This is pretty much an impossible question for anyone to say yeah yeah you will get that or no chance you will get that, as it depends on company and position.

I also noted that leave has to be accumulated before it can be taken i.e no leave in the first year, this is where I would factor in the unpaid leave and try to push for 3 weeks unpaid in my first year.

Coming from the UK, where I get 5 weeks as standard plus 8/9 public to take when I want, and my wife get 6.5 weeks...holidays are high on my tick list but I would need to experience the situation first in Canada to see how it worked out for us.

If it did turn out to be 2 weeks standard and no unpaid leave, or no increase in leave in anyway and i couldn't improve this with a new job, I would have to seriously look at returning, but again that is me saying this form the UK, but annual leave is important to me for a work/life balance.
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Old Jul 4th 2017, 10:30 am
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Default Re: Canada's vacation politics

Originally Posted by Snowy560 View Post
You may be spending more of your holidays in Butlins or similar after Brexit. Euro travel might not be so easy/cheap then.
Possibly, but I find it's usually cheaper to go to Europe than to holiday in the UK (example: this August all four of us are going to the south of France for 2 weeks - flights, a gite with a swimming pool, and car hire is £1300 for all of us!), so even if it does go up it's still affordable for a lot of people and will probably still be cheaper than internal flights etc in Canada.

Originally Posted by Snowy560 View Post
I think there must be other things about Canada that don't suit you, not just the holiday time!
If you're used to 5 or 6 weeks in the UK and having several holidays a year, it does impact your life considerably, it doesn't have to be other things. We were lucky and hubby kept his UK holidays, but if he hadn't we wouldn't have gone, simple as that. He works long hours, so 2 weeks a year wouldn't have been enough.
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Old Jul 4th 2017, 11:04 am
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Default Re: Canada's vacation politics

The holidays are a concern for me but I think it's probably not something you'll know you can take until you're in that position. The past two years I've taken about 5 weeks holiday because I wanted to travel before we made the move to Canada. But before that I was only taking 3 weeks and so always had some to carry over and some to sell back.


I sympathise that working for a company that doesn't want you to take holidays and also offers the very minimum must be quite demoralising. You've made a lot of effort to get to Canada though so is it not worth trying another employer?


Myself and my girlfriend have said we'll give it a minimum of 2 years, we feel that's sufficient time for us to make a clear decision for the future. I can imagine it's easy to be bogged down and demoralised about all the changes in life, the distance from friends, making new friends plus this holiday issue. Once more established and in a more stable position you may feel differently... But then again you may not!

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Old Jul 4th 2017, 11:35 am
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Default Re: Canada's vacation politics

Originally Posted by christmasoompa View Post
Possibly, but I find it's usually cheaper to go to Europe than to holiday in the UK (example: this August all four of us are going to the south of France for 2 weeks - flights, a gite with a swimming pool, and car hire is £1300 for all of us!), so even if it does go up it's still affordable for a lot of people and will probably still be cheaper than internal flights etc in Canada.
Off topic I know and I won't continue to comment, but this is spot on!

My other half spent 7 - 10 days on the internet looking for a reasonable quality short break locally in the UK and found that a flight (Monarch from BHX) and accommodation for a 4 day short break to Naples (Italy) was considerably cheaper, so guess where we will be going on a (hopefully) final short break in the UK?
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Old Jul 4th 2017, 11:42 am
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Default Re: Canada's vacation politics

We are the same that we would give a place 2 years to see how we feel, however the annual leave is a big one for me as I said before. I was away in June and took 2 weeks off, I’ve had a few days here and there from Jan, and I could not imagine not having at least another week off and a couple days around Christmas.

One year I held back leave so I could carry over 5 and buy 5 as I was going away for 4 weeks and that was hard that year. I could survive on 4 weeks leave if everything else was going well but no less, again I am saying this from the UK
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