Employers struggle with policies regarding unused vacation days 

In a typical year, employees of the magazine publisher Condé Nast must use their vacation days before late December or lose them—a common policy across corporate America. But the company sent employees an email this month saying they could carry up to five vacation days into next year, an apparent acknowledgment that many scrimped on days off amid the long hours and travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic. 

The publisher was not alone in scrambling to make end-of-year arrangements for vacation-deprived workers. Some employers, however, have been less accommodating, The New York Times reports. 

“It’s a big issue we’re seeing now—competing requests for time off over the next two weeks,” says Allan S. Bloom, an employment lawyer at Proskauer in New York. “Clients are struggling to figure it out.” Bloom and other lawyers and human resources experts say there is no clear pattern in how employers are handling the challenge. 

Many companies that already allow employees to carry vacation days into the next year have not felt the need to change their policies. The same is true for some companies that pay workers for their unused vacation days. 

Several companies including Bank of America and Citigroup have taken steps that could defuse a potential human resources headache and, they say, benefit their work forces in difficult times by allowing workers to carry forward some days with the condition they be used in the first half of 2021. 

Experts say a philosophical question looms over all the vacation benefits: Is the point to ensure that workers take time off? Or are vacation days simply an alternative form of compensation that workers can use as they see fit, whether to relax away from the job, to supplement their income or to drag around with them until the end of time as a monument to their productivity? Read the full story.