To Make a Stink or Not to Make a Stink? That is the Question.

Husband has been with the same company for 7 years.   He is a hard worker with a good work ethic, and he goes above and beyond the call of duty on a regular basis.  Last week his company was pitching a new client, and they didn’t even ask him for an animation because his department is slammed with regular work right now.  Husband worked on it at home on his own time at his own impetus because he knew it would give his company an edge, and it looks like his animation will land them the client.

Great, isn’t he?

He’s also a terrific troubleshooter, and has become the go-to guy for hardware and software tech support in addition to his regular duties.

They love him almost as much as I do.

Like most of the rest of corporate America, times are tough at Large Conglomerate.  There were massive layoffs last year, and a handy dandy pay cut to go along with it.   Grateful to keep his job, we accepted the cut with as much grace as possible.

Things are going much better now.  His office has hooked several new clients, and receipts are way up.  Being part of a Large Conglomerate, though, means that the entire company has to be in the black consistently before his old pay is reinstated, no matter how much his little piece of the pie shines.

Poop.

The other day the HR person was chatting with Husband, and the subject of vacation came up.  She’s been there 2 years longer than Husband, and takes 4 weeks of vacation (compared to Husband’s three).  She said there was no written policy dictating when the 4th week was awarded, and she’d gotten her 4th week 2 year before.  She volunteered to ask if Husband could get a 4th week, too.

We were both excited about this possibility, thinking that:

1.  He deserves a bonus for all of the extra work he does consistently, and

2.  It would help lessen the blow of the pay cut.

Today the HR person forwarded Husband an email from the corporate HR department denying the request, and it included the policy in place addressing the 4th week of vacation.  As with many other companies, employees of Large Conglomerate are eligible for the 4th week of vacation after ten years of service.

Fine.

But why does HR person get the 4th week?  Do labor laws not specifiy that all employees of the same class get the same benefits on the same schedule?  I’m sure executive level rules are different, but at Husband’s and HR person’s level they absolutely do.  Don’t they?

That’s discriminatory.  And it isn’t the first time the company has exhibited discriminatory practices.  Heck, I’m Jewish and even I don’t think Jewish employees should get Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur off with pay without giving other employees commensurate time off.

These things are unfair.

Husband, of course, will do nothing.  He doesn’t want HR person to lose her extra week, which she surely would if he made a stink.

But to me it stinks anyway.  It violates my innate sense of fairness.

What would you do?

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2 Responses to “To Make a Stink or Not to Make a Stink? That is the Question.”

  1. Lisa Says:

    It’s not discriminatory, as there’s no labor law that makes it compulsory to give all employees the same benefits and pay on the same schedule. The only thing that might dictate something like that would be a labor contract with a union. At most companies, the amount of vacation time you start with is negotiable for mid-career hires, though you eventually settle into the normal schedule (ie, you might start with more, but then it would be longer before you get more). It could be that when the HR person was hired, she negotiated to start with three weeks of vacation (instead of say, two, that maybe most new hires receive) and then after awhile said “hey! it’s been seven years since I got another week of vacation.” Maybe she threw in a threat to walk, in an economic period of time that was much more employee-friendly (i.e., not a recession).

    Your hubby is certainly in a position to try again; vacation policy is not set in stone. However, I would suggest that going through the HR person is probably not his best bet; more persuasive would be to get his boss to go to bat for him to get the vacation, and he should make the case to him. He could point out that he was a mid-career hire but took the base vacation when he was offered the job; specific examples of how he goes above and beyond; how he graciously took the pay cut, understanding the current economic climate. He should make the case that he’s an exemplary employee, but wouldn’t DREAM of asking for a pay raise with the company’s current situation, but feels that getting that extra week’s vacation a couple years early would be a very fair compensation in lieu of a pay increase.

  2. Maddy Says:

    I don’t know the legal side of things I just know that anything to do with holidays is a pain. My husband endured the 10% pay cut because he’s in a teeny tiny company so that of course means that the work load increases as the layoffs continue, hence even unpaid leave was a real squeeze. Depressing times whichever end you’re coming from.
    Best wishes


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