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[#] Fri Nov 07 2014 11:11:15 EST from vince-q

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At the bottom of every "odd" corporate decision (and this one certainly seems odd "on its face") you will almost always find a tax-related justification.

Do the hours of the 'forced vacation' count as time worked?
Could they possibly be trying to "duck out of" some portion of the employer mandate under Obama"care"?

[#] Fri Nov 07 2014 12:40:43 EST from fleeb

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I can only guess, but I know that a company that has a lot of employees with vacation time saved up looks worse on paper than a company with employees that have no vacation time saved up at all (if you could even imagine such a company).

This has to do with how financial people evaluate a company's net worth.
The company would have to pay out the vacation not spent when an employee leaves. Ergo, if your employees do not have any vacation acrued, you don't have to pay for the vacation they didn't take.

This is why most companies today impose a maximum number of days beyond which you may no longer acrue vacation time. It protects them from loss, and makes themselves look better on paper.

But forcing you to use that time at their discretion is a new one. It's insidious, and a tad nastier than one would think when you figure, 'Hey, it's time off, it could be worse.' Most employees wouldn't get that the company is, in a small way, stealing from you by doing this, because it all looks fair on the surface.

[#] Fri Nov 07 2014 15:46:09 EST from vince-q

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Back at my teaching job this was never an issue.
Contrary to huge public misconception, teachers do not get vacations in the same sense that the rest of the work-world does.

Our teacher contract (and this is almost universally true) called for 184 work days to occur between September 1 and June 30 (covering the school year).

Each spring the Board and the union would get together and work out the school schedule for the following year.

No vacation days about which to worry - period. Summer? No pay for that. Christmas? No pay for that. Same for the federal and state holidays. Want a special day off? No problem - no pay. Just 184 work days.

Now... *sick* days were different. We got 10 sick days and 2 personal-leave days per contract year. Unused personal days (2 max) converted to sick days at the end of each school year. Sick days accumulated without limit and at retirement unused sick days were paid out in one check, 60 days after retirement, at the rate then in effect. At my retirement it was $80/day and when I retired I had 3 sick days accumulated.

I learned the hard way to NOT let sick days accumulate. When I left Job 1 for Job 2 I had roughly 95 sick days. Lost every single stinkin' one of them. Sucked to be me.

So in Job 2 and again in Job 3 I **never** let them accumulate beyond 20. All teacher contracts in NJ do not call for a doctor note until your sick days taken are 3 consecutive or more. So... "I'm not coming in today - sick" was how that got handled (by phone/voice-message).

Death in family (father, mother, spouse, child) got 5 consecutive workdays with pay. Near relative got "day of funeral" with pay. Colleague (fellow teacher in district) sometimes closed school (had to make up the day).

And that was pretty much "it." All those neat misconceptions about teachers having "all that time off" are true, but leave out two important words, WITHOUT PAY.

[#] Sat Nov 08 2014 13:42:22 EST from IGnatius T Foobar

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The trend now is to simply not distinguish between sick days, vacation days, personal days, or any other reason why you would be out of the workplace for the day.  It's all called "Paid Time Off" (PTO) and you get a fixed amount of it to use for any reason.

I never end up using all of mine.

[#] Sat Nov 08 2014 14:36:45 EST from vince-q

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2014-11-08 13:42 from IGnatius T Foobar @uncnsrd
The trend now is to simply *not* distinguish between sick days,
vacation days, personal days, or any other reason why you would be
out of the workplace for the day.  It's all called "Paid Time Off"
(PTO) and you get a fixed amount of it to use for any reason.

I never end up using all of mine.

Back before I retired from teaching, we distinguished between personal days and sick days because personal days did not require documentation as to reason, or even *giving* a reason. Sick days, on the other hand, required a doctor-note for 4 or more continuous which I always thought very generous. Were it solely up to me, I would have required a doctor-note for "two in a row."

My favorite story is that concerning my teacher friend Bill. He got to the point where he had accumulated roughly 200 sick days. I used to do his taxes every year. I knew that when he retired he was looking at a sick-day check in the area of $17,000 which would have murdered him in taxes. So...

I told him to get his doctor to certify 'long term illness' and take 190 consecutive school days off as sick days.

He did that.

At the end of Year A he took the last three days off.
All of Year B, he took off (184 work days).
In year C, he came back to work on the 4th day (3 more days).
He managed to "eat up" 190 of his 200 sick days, and got 10 added for Yr B.
So he then had 20 days.
Not a big deal in terms of cash.

He then immediately put in his retirement papers and 30 days later was "out the door."

Pay for sick days you actually take was *exempt* from income tax (at least back then).
Saved him a ***bundle***.
Totally legal under the IRS code *and* our contract.

And did it ever piss the hell out of his supervisor!
And since I was faculty rep (shop steward) I got to tell his supervisor to go pound sand up his ass!


[#] Mon Nov 10 2014 15:25:39 EST from athos-mn

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Companies forcing employees to take time off is, sadly, not new. Eli had to do that a few years ago, and like Fleeb had not worked there long enough to have enough vacation time to cover it; unlike fleeb she did not have the option to go into PTO Hock, but instead had to go without pay.

That company also reported record profits for the year.

[#] Tue Nov 11 2014 15:52:44 EST from fleeb

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We share in the receptionist's duty here when she takes time off, several of us taking an hour over the course of the day to pull duty so not any one of us has our work impacted overmuch.

(Note, we kinda have to do it this way rather than hiring someone, because of clearances and standards and blah blah blah).

Despite being capable of installing a variety of operating systems, whizzing around with virtual machines, building software in all of these environments and a host of other relatively complicated tasks, the receptionist's phone completely defeated me. I could not figure out how to forward a call to someone else.

I can do it now, but... sheesh.

[#] Tue Nov 11 2014 23:05:55 EST from wizard of aahz

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Fleeb - don't feel badly about it. Monochrome hung the following sign in my office 6 or 7 years ago..

"This office reserved for the telephonically challenged"

after I had hung up on one too many clients while trying to forward, transfer, conference, etc... phone calls.

[#] Wed Nov 12 2014 05:14:07 EST from fleeb

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Heh... it's just really, really awkward. You try to put forth your most professional mannerisms, and to do right by the guy who called, only to hang up, repeatedly, and never quite get him in touch with his party.

I resorted to calling his party on my cell phone (which, naturally, lead to voice mail). Eventually, the guy said he knew his party's cell phone number and called him there.

[#] Wed Nov 12 2014 12:07:59 EST from IGnatius T Foobar

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The nice thing about being responsible for the phone system is that nobody calls you when the phones don't work.


[#] Wed Nov 12 2014 14:03:29 EST from fleeb

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In that case, maybe they should have me do more receptionist work, since I obviously don't know how to handle the phone.

[#] Wed Nov 12 2014 14:34:09 EST from vince-q

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Wed Nov 12 2014 12:07:59 EST from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

The nice thing about being responsible for the phone system is that nobody calls you when the phones don't work.


Heh. You should ask Lord Irving the Duck about that!

<evil grin>

[#] Sat Nov 15 2014 08:13:32 EST from fleeb

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I suppose I'm off to Florida Sunday for work.

I'll miss the cold.

[#] Sat Nov 15 2014 09:34:01 EST from zooer

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Where in Florida will you be going?

[#] Sat Nov 15 2014 22:02:48 EST from fleeb

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Never been there before. I'm told it's nice. But then, I am not a fan of Florida.

[#] Sat Nov 15 2014 22:31:28 EST from vince-q

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You're getting to the time of year where *all* of Florida is nice.
Humidity - gone.
Oppressive heat - gone.
Cold - never really does arrive. And only late Jan. for a couple weeks, if at all.

Yep. Florida. A good place to be. For now.

[#] Sun Nov 16 2014 05:55:03 EST from fleeb

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I'll miss the snow we're likely to have here Monday. But that just means I don't need to deal with driving in it. Or, more specifically, driving with others driving in it.

[#] Mon Nov 17 2014 06:49:33 EST from fleeb

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Ah, but I get to enjoy the tornado watch we have in place instead.

Torrential downpours, thunderbolts and lightning...

[#] Mon Nov 17 2014 12:22:53 EST from vince-q

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Torrential downpours, thunderbolts and lightning...

"Einzug der Goetter in Walhall"
Please - make sure the orchestra has a GOOD brass section!

[#] Mon Nov 17 2014 13:02:01 EST from athos-mn

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Found a new job with a small IT department for a regional bank (about a dozen branches); really liked the people when I did the interviews, so I'm looking forward to starting in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I look forward to IG's opinions on the FDIC. :)

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