Sunday, January 18, 2009

Time Off

How many weeks holidays a year do you take?

From a health perspective, I feel North Americans are overworked to the point where I frequently hear comments like "I am not taking all of my 3 weeks off this year because I don't want to be swamped when I get back." !!!

Isn't that terrible?

In Canada, we do not typically get the same amount of paid holiday time as say, our European counterparts do.

Typically, when starting a new job, you do not get any paid holidays in the first year. In the 2nd year, you may get 2 weeks. After 5 years, 3 weeks and after 10 years, 4 weeks.

That's pretty dismal.

Some workplaces will allow non paid leave, some won't.

One of D's biggest wishes is to have more time off. He would take it in lieu of a pay raise.

It has been 2 years since he started working for a large corporation. They started him with 3 weeks off a year and it will not reach 4 weeks until he's worked 10 years. The maximum paid time off available in his company is 5 wks at 20 years of service.

Am I the only one who thinks that's ridiculous?!

He is lucky that he is able to work remote, so that he can be out at the ski condo for a few weeks and still be working. If we get Internet at the cottage, he would benefit that way too. But what about the people who are not able to do this?

Much of the stress I see in my work is due to work. I realize there is no "perfect" job but I feel that the amount of time off given in North America is not enough for people to really detach from their work properly.

Our plan is to have D start taking non paid time off once we finish paying off our mortgages in approx. 5 years.


  1. Hi Middle Way,

    You're not the only one who thinks that 4 weeks off a year is ridiculous. I also think it's ridiculous that people find that 'generous'! I think I have about 20 weeks off a year. That works for me!

    Yes, it's all about working out the financing that will allow us time to truly live.

  2. My husband has been in his current position for almost 2 years. He is entitled to 4 weeks per year plus 2/3 personal days. So far he has taken about 2 1/2 weeks total - and brought his blackberry and/or laptop with him.

    In his previous position, he was entitled to 5 weeks paid vacation and took every single day of it each year - never had carry forward.

    The difference is he really enjoys his current position (kind of how I enjoy personal finance) and doesn't resent the extra time.

    I still worry for his health though, whether he enjoys it or not.

  3. I agree...three weeks off a year is dismal. In Australia everyone pretty well gets 4 weeks minimum.

    After 10 years with my employer I get three months of Long Service Leave which accrues an additional 2 weeks every year. Essentially I'm earning a total of 6 weeks of leave every year. We MUST take 4 weeks per year but I can save up my extra two weeks if I like.

    I often think that even 4 weeks is not enough. Even though I often work from home, I'd love to start working remotely while away on a mini-break. That would be a fabulous alternative.

  4. I have 28 days annual leasve each year, plus 8 bank holidays, three free days at Christmas (for some reason not counted in our annual leave entitlement). On top of that I can also have a maximum of 12 flexi days, assuming I accrue enough overtime.
    I work hard, honest I do! Just not quite so often as some.
    In reality ofcourse we are probably paid less becuase we need more staff to accomplish the same tasks. Works for me though. I am happy with my salary, annual leave & sick leave and, lucky for me, my actual job.

  5. I could not agree more. I don't understand our culture's obsession with nonstop work.

  6. Hi Daphne!

    You have great thing going there--and I know it is because you've made it happen! Good for you for creating such an awesome life!

    I've never calculated how much total time off I have in a year until your comment. I've only ever counted just the obvious weeks I have off, not the day during the week I do not work.

    It made a huge difference and put a large grin on my face! Thank you!

    Hi Money!

    I'm glad you husband is willing to take all of his vacation and enjoys what he is doing. That's a huge part of it--not wishing to be out of there!

    I also know you will keep a watchful eye that his health is in check. He's lucky to have you!

    Hi livingmyrichlife!

    Mandatory leave is a good thing. I've never heard of long service leave but it sounds like a great incentive for loyalty.

    With you love of travel, I can definately see you taking much larger chunks of time off in the future!

    Hi Lizzie!

    I DO believe you work really hard! You've earned where and what you are and have, there's no doubt about that.

    Plus you have a great vision of where you want to be in the future. Can't wait to see your online business take shape!

    Hi Executioner!

    The book Your Money or Your Life has a neat section on the definitions and history of work.

    I think our culture has put all the eggs in the one basket that says "paid work reins supreme". Somehow, it is frowned upon if you are not "productive".

    Personally, I'm looking forward to doing non paid "work" in the form of hobbies and volunteering--things that bring more meaning into my life.