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Sacrificing paid leave for a better life?

Sacrificing paid leave for a better life?

Old Jun 16th 2021, 11:27 am
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Default Sacrificing paid leave for a better life?

I am in the advanced stages of planning my move to and future Permanent Residency application for Canada. I have worked and lived there seasonally for the past 4 years and I know that I love the country, the culture and the way of life that it has to offer. The biggest drawback for me is the pitiful amount of paid leave that is offered in most conventional jobs. I mean, seriously, just 10 days mandatory??! Having worked in the UK for most of my life, it would feel like a massive sacrifice of my time and my worry is that I won't have the opportunity to enjoy/explore the country properly because I'll be working all the time, which I think would be really depressing. I know that it does increase if you are with the same company, but even after 10 years employment you STILL don't get as much as the baseline amount in the UK. It just seems incredibly unfair and having read lots of posts it seems that in more conventional jobs (which I don't have experience of in Canada), the work culture in general is a lot more like the US than the UK i.e. big focus on deadlines, high stress, draconian bosses who are reluctant to approve leave etc. which I honestly think I would despise unless I absolutely adored my job (not likely). Those who are now working in Canada and living there full time - how do you find the work culture and is it really hard to adjust to the (in my opinion) inadequate amount of leave?
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Old Jun 16th 2021, 11:29 am
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Default Re: Sacrificing paid leave for a better life?

Hi, welcome to BE.

Lots of other threads asking a similar question which may be useful reading, here's a recent one - Holiday Entitlement

Good luck with deciding.
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Old Jun 16th 2021, 12:32 pm
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Default Re: Sacrificing paid leave for a better life?

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I have to say that the testimonies on there threw up some serious red flags. It makes me very sad that an ostensibly progressive country like Canada adopts such a draconian attitude to its workers. Kinda makes me think what's the point of living there if I can barely fit in a family vacation + 1 trip a year back to Blighty so my (future) kids can see their grandparents. But I do love it there so I guess I have to decide whether my day-to-day quality of life there would be worth it.
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Old Jun 16th 2021, 1:08 pm
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Default Re: Sacrificing paid leave for a better life?

Originally Posted by movinghopeful View Post
Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I have to say that the testimonies on there threw up some serious red flags. It makes me very sad that an ostensibly progressive country like Canada adopts such a draconian attitude to its workers. Kinda makes me think what's the point of living there if I can barely fit in a family vacation + 1 trip a year back to Blighty so my (future) kids can see their grandparents. But I do love it there so I guess I have to decide whether my day-to-day quality of life there would be worth it.

Just to emphasize how vacations do not fit with the culture here. Last Thursday I was summoned to look at an issue whereby someone was unable to work for lack of materials. The person responsible for the supply of materials had taken Thursday, Friday and Monday off and didn't respond to an email (at least not within half a hour) nor a follow up phone call. I sorted out the confusion with the materials and was then asked "should we keep this guy, wtf is he?". I got distracted yesterday and didn't check if he was fired or not but likely so; it is just not sensible to a) take vacation except between projects and b) to be unavailable, even by phone, while on vacation.

This doesn't conflict with taking the kids to see their grandparents though. I delivered an important phase of a major project in America from my parents' floor in Bexhill. You just have to make it clear when you will be on the plane and so unable to take calls. You have to make it clear that your commitment to the job comes first.
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Old Jun 16th 2021, 1:45 pm
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Default Re: Sacrificing paid leave for a better life?

Counterpoint to dbd33. I have 4 weeks vacation. I'm encouraged to use it all. (Perhaps I'm fortunate in as much as my employer's head office is in the UK :-))
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Old Jun 16th 2021, 1:51 pm
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Default Re: Sacrificing paid leave for a better life?

Originally Posted by dbd33 View Post
Just to emphasize how vacations do not fit with the culture here. Last Thursday I was summoned to look at an issue whereby someone was unable to work for lack of materials. The person responsible for the supply of materials had taken Thursday, Friday and Monday off and didn't respond to an email (at least not within half a hour) nor a follow up phone call. I sorted out the confusion with the materials and was then asked "should we keep this guy, wtf is he?". I got distracted yesterday and didn't check if he was fired or not but likely so; it is just not sensible to a) take vacation except between projects and b) to be unavailable, even by phone, while on vacation.

This doesn't conflict with taking the kids to see their grandparents though. I delivered an important phase of a major project in America from my parents' floor in Bexhill. You just have to make it clear when you will be on the plane and so unable to take calls. You have to make it clear that your commitment to the job comes first.
Hi, thanks for your response, I really appreciate your insight. I hope this doesn't come across as rude, but I think I would really struggle with that. May I ask what line of work you're in? Also how do you cope with a work culture that is like that, doesn't it bother you that you're in an amazing and beautiful country but have little time to get out and see it? Again, I'm sorry to repay your generous insight with what might be seen as rude questions, I'm just trying to understand people's attitudes. I'd understand if you really enjoy and get a lot of satisfaction from your job, or perhaps if it pays incredibly well, but with most jobs that usually isn't the case.
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Old Jun 16th 2021, 2:01 pm
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Default Re: Sacrificing paid leave for a better life?

Originally Posted by Atlantic Xpat View Post
Counterpoint to dbd33. I have 4 weeks vacation. I'm encouraged to use it all. (Perhaps I'm fortunate in as much as my employer's head office is in the UK :-))
Hi, thanks for your response. Interesting, I have definitely seen people saying similar things, so I don't think everywhere is a nightmare. Perhaps its more the culture of specific organisations rather than Canadian employers as a whole. I currently work for the NHS who are really good about time off etc., but perhaps if I worked for a big corporation I might find a similarly poor attitude to time off. On the whole, however, it does seem that work/life balance is worse in Canada and it's simply a fact that the minimum days of paid leave is much lower than in the UK. I'm assuming you've worked for your current employer for a number of years/have a lot of experience in your field so have more negotiating power, which certainly wouldn't be the case for me for the first few years at least.
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Old Jun 16th 2021, 2:07 pm
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Default Re: Sacrificing paid leave for a better life?

Originally Posted by movinghopeful View Post
Hi, thanks for your response. Interesting, I have definitely seen people saying similar things, so I don't think everywhere is a nightmare. Perhaps its more the culture of specific organisations rather than Canadian employers as a whole. I currently work for the NHS who are really good about time off etc., but perhaps if I worked for a big corporation I might find a similarly poor attitude to time off. On the whole, however, it does seem that work/life balance is worse in Canada and it's simply a fact that the minimum days of paid leave is much lower than in the UK. I'm assuming you've worked for your current employer for a number of years/have a lot of experience in your field so have more negotiating power, which certainly wouldn't be the case for me for the first few years at least.
Yes to the point that if one is more experienced/desirable to an employer one has more negotiating power, although corporate/organisational culture & policies can often limit employers flexibilities. For example 10 years or so ago when I started with my current employer, I couldn't no matter how hard I tried get 4 weeks leave as 3 was the maximum & 2 the norm. I had 4 weeks leave in my previous employer so dropped down a week which I gained back after a couple of years with a promotion.

If you are intending to work within the public healthcare system in Canada, your leave (& other terms) are likely to be the subject of collective agreements with the appropriate union. (or heavily influenced by the union agreements if it is a non-union position). So likely to be little flexibility. Unionised positions often mean that those with seniority (which you wont have when you start) get first dibs on when vacation can be taken. So getting 2 weeks off in August as opposed to November might be a problem.
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Old Jun 16th 2021, 3:06 pm
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Default Re: Sacrificing paid leave for a better life?

Originally Posted by movinghopeful View Post
Hi, thanks for your response, I really appreciate your insight. I hope this doesn't come across as rude, but I think I would really struggle with that. May I ask what line of work you're in? Also how do you cope with a work culture that is like that, doesn't it bother you that you're in an amazing and beautiful country but have little time to get out and see it? Again, I'm sorry to repay your generous insight with what might be seen as rude questions, I'm just trying to understand people's attitudes. I'd understand if you really enjoy and get a lot of satisfaction from your job, or perhaps if it pays incredibly well, but with most jobs that usually isn't the case.
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I don't think it's a particularly amazing and beautiful country, most of it is flat and frozen for half the year. I can see that people might want vacation so as to go elsewhere and, indeed, usually people who take vacation do use it to go home.
I don't have any real connection to Canada, nor interest in it, so the culture of always working isn't a problem for me. I don't share the local philosophy that ordinary life is so good that there's no need to take a day off, but I don't clash with it either.
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Old Jun 16th 2021, 4:48 pm
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Default Re: Sacrificing paid leave for a better life?

I'll repeat what I have said in other threads, just like anywhere in the world it totally depends on where you live and who your employer is! I have almost as much leave as I did in the UK and have done since I moved here 3 years ago, especially when you factor in the more higher number of stat holidays. And we are encouraged, nay forced! to take all of our vacation time. I actually had to tell one of my reports to take her time off last year as we got to mid December and she still had almost 2 weeks left to use up.
And if you choose to live somewhere that you like and has all the activities you like then you wont feel you need as many vacations because every weekend will feel like a vacation year round, and evenings too in the summer months. Certainly does for me living in the Okanagan
Dont fret about it, get over here, start enjoying life and if your employer sucks apply to work elsewhere.
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Old Jun 16th 2021, 5:40 pm
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Default Re: Sacrificing paid leave for a better life?

Originally Posted by Phaedru5 View Post
I'll repeat what I have said in other threads, just like anywhere in the world it totally depends on where you live and who your employer is! I have almost as much leave as I did in the UK and have done since I moved here 3 years ago, especially when you factor in the more higher number of stat holidays. And we are encouraged, nay forced! to take all of our vacation time. I actually had to tell one of my reports to take her time off last year as we got to mid December and she still had almost 2 weeks left to use up.
And if you choose to live somewhere that you like and has all the activities you like then you wont feel you need as many vacations because every weekend will feel like a vacation year round, and evenings too in the summer months. Certainly does for me living in the Okanagan
Dont fret about it, get over here, start enjoying life and if your employer sucks apply to work elsewhere.
I had wondered whether this would be the case so glad to have it confirmed by someone with real world experience. I certainly have no qualms about becoming a major weekend warrior, I love everything to do with the outdoors so that was kind of my plan anyway. Can I ask who your employer is?
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Old Jun 16th 2021, 6:47 pm
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Default Re: Sacrificing paid leave for a better life?

It will likely depend on a) what you do for a living b) how much an employer wants you!
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Old Jun 16th 2021, 8:02 pm
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Default Re: Sacrificing paid leave for a better life?

Interestingly I saw this article the other day stating Canadians and Americans experienced the most workplace stress of any country.

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Old Jun 16th 2021, 9:32 pm
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Default Re: Sacrificing paid leave for a better life?

Originally Posted by jandro View Post
Interestingly I saw this article the other day stating Canadians and Americans experienced the most workplace stress of any country.
I've never had to work in Canada so I wouldn't know but it seems to me that a regular complaint on BE is that everything is so laid back, people don't put much effort in, don't look for better ways of doing things and so on.

Where does the stress come from if it's really like that?
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Old Jun 16th 2021, 10:21 pm
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Default Re: Sacrificing paid leave for a better life?

Originally Posted by BristolUK View Post
I've never had to work in Canada so I wouldn't know but it seems to me that a regular complaint on BE is that everything is so laid back, people don't put much effort in, don't look for better ways of doing things and so on.

Where does the stress come from if it's really like that?
It's not like that. The cradles may be like that but almost all workers are immigrants and highly competitive.
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