One of the many perks of many jobs is the ability to take paid time off or paid vacation time. However, vacation time can also be a touchy subject in many workplaces. For instance, employees often complain that favoritism can play a huge role in manager approval of certain employees’ requested vacatio6n time, especially on popular days off around the holidays or long weekends. Furthermore, a survey conducted by Careerbuilder revealed that approximately 12% of employees feel guilty when they are not working on vacation and 30% of employees stated they tried to take work with them or contacted the office on days off.
Some companies such as IBM, Netflix, and Hubspot are trying to eliminate the stress that often surrounds traditional vacation policies. Such companies have implemented unlimited vacation policies based on the honor system. The basic premise is that employees may take the paid time off or vacation days they need at their own discretion, provided they do not abuse the privilege and have satisfactory work. Executives at many of these companies agree that unlimited vacation highly improves loyalty, productivity, and morale. Reports show that employees work harder when they are in the office and the ability to take a day off when necessary helps avoid burnout. The consensus among almost all employees in the study was that if they knew there was a big project deadline coming up, they would always choose to be in the office and would not use the vacation freedom to avoid hard or stressful workdays. Overall, almost every report shows that unlimited vacation policies are a positive influence.
Oregon Vacation Laws
Though some states strictly vacation policies in the workplace, Oregon law mostly leaves vacation policy details to the discretion of the employers. In fact, Oregon wage and hour statutes are largely silent on vacation time with court decisions mostly dictating the governing law. According to case law, employers may choose to have their own policies or contracts stating:
-Whether they want to provide employees with paid vacation time.
-Whether they will pay employees for unused accrued vacation time upon the end of employment.
-Whether they can cap the amount to vacation time an employee may accrue.
-Whether they will implement a “use it or lose it” policy, under which an employee must use vacation by a certain date or lose the ability to use that paid time off.
Oregon employers have the flexibility to design their own vacation policies, however they must have consistent policies and must make sure employees are clearly aware of the policies.
Whether the unlimited vacation policy is the way of the future is yet to be seen, however Oregon employers can take advantage of the flexible laws and design a vacation policy that works best for their employees. If you have any employment law questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call HKM Employment Attorneys.