Paid Vacation Day Basics

Paid vacation days are days for which an employee is paid when he or she takes time off from work. Most organizations voluntarily provide paid time off to employees as a benefit. Increasingly, the best employees, the candidates that you most want to hire, demand paid vacation days as part of their comprehensive employee compensation packages.

The chart below shows that the number of vacation days you get correlates with how many years of service you have under your belt.

How Employees Aquire Paid Vacation Days

The number of paid vacation days generally accrues to employees based on their years of service to the organization and the level of their position. For example, employees accrue 3.0769 hours per pay period worked in the case where they are eligible for 10 days or two work weeks of vacation. (This calculation assumes that there are 26 pay periods for the employee.)

For most jobs, paid vacation days are standard across jobs and employee longevity. Employees start their jobs with one-two weeks off. As the years of their employment pass, they become eligible for more weeks of paid vacation time off. From experience, paid vacation days most frequently reach their limit in accrual amounts at four-six weeks of paid vacation time off.

You Can Negotiate Paid Vacation Days

Individual employees can also negotiate for paid vacation days. Extra days are more frequently granted to senior managers and executive level employees. But, if you’re a potential employee who is leaving your current organization with five weeks of vacation accrued, it pays to negotiate rather than to accept two weeks of paid vacation as a part of a standard employment offer.

For example, in your current organization, you have accrued five weeks of vacation annually because of your longevity and level. An employer who is interested in your experience and skills is usually willing to stray from their standard practice of starting new employees with two or even one week’s paid vacation days.

Employers recognize that managers and senior employees won’t take that kind of a step backward in their compensation plans. You may not get as much as you negotiate for because of employer past practices, and fairness to current employees, but it’s worth a try. You can then make decisions about a job offer with the whole compensation package in mind.

The same advice applies to prospective employees with hard-to-replicate skills or with scarce degrees. Employers are willing to negotiate higher levels of compensation and benefits such as more days of paid vacation with difficult-to-hire employees.

Paid vacation days are also negotiated as a part of a standard union contract in a workplace that is represented by a union. In such a represented workplace, individual employees are unable to negotiate the number of their paid vacation days. What the union negotiated is standard practice across the board.

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