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Annual Leave Entitlements

Annual Leave Entitlements

Old Nov 8th 2023, 1:58 pm
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Question Annual Leave Entitlements

Hey all, so quick question, obviously we all know that annual leave entitlements in the US is very different to what we get back in the UK & Europe.

One question I have, I know it will change from employee to employee but do companies ever allow unpaid holiday, not sick leave but actually vacation/holiday days?

I'm lucky enough that my employer HQ is British so to try and differentiate and encourage staff loyalty etc they maintain a normal British annual leave entitlement of 6 weeks paid leave per year. Obviously this is great, however as my wife doesn't work for the same company she will not get this so the advantage is there but limited.

From what I have seen the average paid annual leave in the US is around 10 days but do employers ever allow additional leave but unpaid? We enjoy travelling so we'd like to try and do 2 weeks back in the UK with the family every year + a 2 week overseas vacation.

It maybe something that has rarely seen, something that occasionally happens, or to be honest, it may just be something that no-one has ever come across.

Appreciate any comments

(I also may have my understanding of the 10 days leave inaccurate - We are starting the process of moving now so still have millions of things to learn!)
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Old Nov 8th 2023, 2:12 pm
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Default Re: Annual Leave Entitlements

to my understanding 10 days vacation time is standard for white collar workers. However, depending on the field your wife is in and her status in it will determine what vacation time she will be offered and if she is able to negotiate a higher number of days.

In my case, I started with 3 weeks vacation and 5 PTO days. When I retired I was up to 4 weeks vacation, 10 PTO and 11 holidays. That was in the legal field.
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Old Nov 8th 2023, 2:39 pm
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Default Re: Annual Leave Entitlements

If I run out of PTO any time off, with my manager's permission, would be unpaid. However I have never run out of PTO as I currently get 30 days PTO plus most of the public holidays, except Columbus day and Veterans days.
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Old Nov 8th 2023, 3:33 pm
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Default Re: Annual Leave Entitlements

10 days annual vacation is indeed the normal starting point for annual leave, occasionally 15 or 20+ days if it is a senior position and they really want you. Some progressive companies even offer unlimited time off but be careful of those because they typically do not expect you to use a lot(!). Many companies offer more as you increase time in the job but it takes quite a few years to grow that entitlement. In general they are also quite strict about unpaid time off unless for some kind of emergency or family situation. Beware that many companies call annual leave Personal Time Off, PTO which is all time off for any reason including sick days. It typically accrues on an hourly basis and is calculated and recorded on each pay check (down to decimal points). A lot of companies will not let you use it before it is accrued. Many companies also have a use it or lose it policy making it difficult to accrue from one year to the next. Lastly, a lot of companies may balk at approving a two week vacation (let alone two in one year). In the US most people take one week or long weekends, it’s just a different culture from what we are used to in the UK or Europe.

With all that said there are plenty of exceptions. As Rete states depending upon the position, how much the company is interested in you and how senior you are it is negotiable, but needs to be for a skilled and more senior position to make that viable, and smaller companies are usually more flexible in that regard. A few larger companies offer the ability to buy extra vacation days as part of the benefits package, that tends to be limited to one week per year but is worth asking about. A few (typically smaller) companies offer decent packages to everyone but you would need to do some research to seek them out, and they may well pay less than average. Otherwise depending upon what your wife does could she do temp or contract work thus allowing her to choose when she works and when she does not?

Last edited by Glasgow Girl; Nov 8th 2023 at 3:46 pm.
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Old Nov 8th 2023, 4:38 pm
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Default Re: Annual Leave Entitlements

I negotiate European style vacation packages when starting with a new employer. Otherwise its onto the next
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Old Nov 8th 2023, 6:24 pm
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Default Re: Annual Leave Entitlements

My company at least would allow you to take unpaid leave but it would need to be approved with a reason so might be doable depending on the company. Mine starts with 20 days PTO per year then goes up to 25 after 2 years service. I'm just about to hit 5 years in January and then mine will be 30 at that point. Max at mine is 35 but that's after 15 years service. You can carry over and build up a total of 10 days above your PTO annual limit as well.
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Old Nov 8th 2023, 7:14 pm
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Default Re: Annual Leave Entitlements

The devil can also be in the detail here… PTO can encompass:

Vacation Days
Personal days
Sick days

And then holidays (think UK bank holidays) are separate, and depend on where you work, I am a m finance and get the days NYSE is closed, federal employees who have a slightly different calendar, there are 3 or so that are not a holiday at both.
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Old Nov 8th 2023, 9:26 pm
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Default Re: Annual Leave Entitlements

Originally Posted by Glasgow Girl
Some progressive companies even offer unlimited time off but be careful of those because they typically do not expect you to use a lot(!).
I'm not sure I'd describe my employer as progressive but it does offer unlimited time off. There's no sense of them expecting folks not to use it but like all time off schemes whatever the allowance, using it needs to be approved - the granting of specific days requested is not a given just because you want it.
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Old Nov 9th 2023, 5:37 pm
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Default Re: Annual Leave Entitlements

We have unlimited, which of course comes with small print...

- black out dates
- 4 weeks max (total)
- more than 4 weeks has to be approved by leadership team
- so sort of unlimited, but not really with the terms

We do however get all Federal and State Holidays, plus winter shutdown (~7 or so biz days), so all in all ~30 days plus the forementioned State and Federal. Always suggest strong negotiation here.
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Old Nov 9th 2023, 8:02 pm
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Default Re: Annual Leave Entitlements

Originally Posted by Glasgow Girl
Lastly, a lot of companies may balk at approving a two week vacation
Except for in the financial industry, where many banks have a mandatory annual 10 day block-leave policy. That was initially implemented years ago as a fraud prevention measure. I don't recall which company it was, but someone finally went on vacation after not taking much time off, and the person covering discovered that the person going on vacation had been skimming money for years.

Just for the record since my location show s Quebec; i worked in the financial industry in the US for many years before relocating to Canada.

Last edited by discoviking; Nov 9th 2023 at 8:13 pm.
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Old Nov 10th 2023, 4:32 pm
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Default Re: Annual Leave Entitlements

I work in the US for a UK headquartered company, and we give all employees globally 27 days plus local public/federal holidays. We value employees around the world equally, so give all employees the same (generous) UK allowance.
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Old Nov 14th 2023, 3:05 pm
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Default Re: Annual Leave Entitlements

Thanks all, really appreciate the responses. I wont lie it is actually a lot more promising than we expected.

We aren't naïve enough to think we will be able to get exact like for like packages for both but seeing that it could be a little closer than expected is nice to see.

Anyway, again, thanks for all the responses, really appreciated.

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