Working on Vacation?!

The workplace can be a stressful environment, even more so during our current economic times.  This creates a double-edged sword for employees. The heightened stress really calls for a vacation. Economic times lead employees to forego time-off because of heavy workloads, resulting from a downsized work force; and fear of losing their positions, if they don’t show their complete dedication by not taking time off.  Then there is the preparing to take vacation, by trying to finish up projects before you leave. And let’s not forget the thousands of emails and voicemails to answer when you return from a vacation.  Not only can it leave our nation of workaholics questioning if the time off is really worth it, but it can also lead to many working while on their vacations.

Because of advances in technology, it is hard to truly disengage.  The line between work-time and personal time is becoming blurry.  Employees are now shopping online, and scheduling appointments while on the clock at work; and also handling work emails and phone calls while away from work. The line is getting fuzzy. Approximately 35% of managers and 14% of non-managers still check in with the office daily while on vacation, and a quarter of the workforce believes that their boss expects them to stay in daily contact!

This is a growing concern, as Wage and Hour complaints rise regarding the number of hours that employees are spending on email or smartphones away from the office and not during working hours. 34% of employee’s who use email on the job, check their work email while on vacation.  Non-exempt employees are to be paid for all hours worked. If a non-exempt employee is on vacation, and answering calls or emails, they should be paid for their actual time worked along with their predetermined vacation pay that is set by the company’s policies. Exempt employees taking work on vacation, even in the electronic form and accessibility, does not allow for de-stressing, which is the main purpose of allowing vacation benefits.

So how can you avoid working on vacation? Inform your co-workers and clients of your vacation time. Ask co-workers to be your back-up, and return the favor when they ask. Advise your clients who they should contact in your absence. Schedule your vacation during down-time for your company. If all else fails find a remote location for your vacation, where you don’t get reception on your cell phone!

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About HR Strategies

HR Strategies is a private human resource management firm created to enable small business owners to focus on their core competencies, rather than the tedium of running payroll, providing employee benefits, or the many other facets of human resource administration. We allow business owners to concentrate on their passion, without being distracted by countless human resource responsibilities.

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