Some experts question the benefits of annual leave: Is it intended to ensure employees have days off?
Or is it just an alternative form of compensation that employees control as they like, whether to relax, increase income, or collect them to demonstrate productivity?
Employers in the United States are struggling to cope with the unused holidays that have accumulated during the pandemic. According to a report published by the New York Times, Noam Shipper said that under normal circumstances employees are required to take advantage of annual leave days before the end of December December or lose it.
It is a common policy among various American companies, but some companies, in the wake of the pandemic, decided to develop new arrangements for employees who saved their leaves due to long working hours and travel restrictions, such as moving 5 days of leave to the new year or compensating them with money, while others were less lenient.
According to some lawyers and human resources experts, there has been no clear pattern of how employers will meet this challenge.
Most companies that allow employees to move vacation days into the new year, or those that pay their employees for unused leave, have not felt the need to change their policies.
Some companies have taken steps that claim to mitigate future human resource problems and benefit the workforce in these difficult times.
For example, Bank of America, which normally requires its employees to take all their leave before the end of the year, has allowed up to 5 days of leave to be postponed to the first quarter of 2021.
Citigroup followed the same pattern, adding an incentive stipulating that employees will receive an extra day off in the new year if they take advantage of all their annual leave in 2020.
And Jackie Reinberg of Willis Towers Watson, a consultancy, is quoted by the writer as saying that employers' policies may reflect their views on this question.
Despite its shortcomings, an exploitation-or-loss rule can help ensure that employees are comfortable.
In contrast, rollover and cash replacement options indicate that vacations are among the assets they are entitled to control.
However, the problem that many employees face during the pandemic is not that vacation days are not used up, but rather that they are lacking.
According to the communications director at United Food, Jonathan Williams, employees sometimes have to use the balance of paid leave if they are required to undergo a second quarantine upon potential exposure to the Corona virus, because employers usually only cover the first quarantine.
Some employees face difficulty in taking advantage of the generous leave policies offered by their companies, as a spokeswoman for Target said that the company has increased holidays that workers can postpone to the new year based on the employee's role and the length of work.
But a number of employees find it difficult to fulfill the conditions for obtaining any benefits or real benefits, according to one of the company’s employees.
Some union officials and human resources experts say financial considerations have been the basis of many of the pandemic leave policy decisions.
For example, Toyota allows many employees in the United States to pay compensation equivalent to two weeks of unused vacation days, but lowered the cap to one week this year to avoid layoffs.
Allowing workers to postpone the holidays will create piles of benefits for workers that employers refuse to carry on their books (Shutterstock)
The burden of delay
The considerations are even more complicated for days that workers postpone to years to come, and Rheinberg explained that allowing workers to postpone holidays can create piles of benefits for workers that many employers refuse to carry on their books.
According to a union official at the Reuters news agency, the organization cited accounting concerns in its adherence to the policy of exploiting or losing vacations this year.
The union demanded leniency, noting that its contract allows the administration to agree to extend leave days in "exceptional circumstances," but the institution refused under the pretext of complication in managing records.
Under both law and custom, many Americans see vacation days as a compensation rather than an entitlement to take a break.
In a survey by Wells Towers Watson last April, more than half of employers who rented or planned changes to vacation benefits said they did so because they believed workers would not use all of the holidays.
About a third of them said the benefits had become too expensive.
A company created "Family and Friends Days" to encourage its employees to take advantage of their vacations (communication sites)
Use or loss
Some US states, such as California and Montana, legalize the ownership right to leave by prohibiting "use or loss" policies, in order to protect workers from being effectively deprived of vacation days that are difficult to use before they expire.
But these laws may dampen the main holiday goal by facilitating or postponing financial compensation indefinitely.
This is why some companies, especially in the tech sector, have taken the pandemic as an opportunity to make sure their workers take a break.
For example, the software company GitLab has responded to the dramatic increase in employee hours by creating “friends-and-family days”.
Google, Slack, and Cloudera have adopted similar policies, noting that those days are not counted as part of the paid vacation days.