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Dear Workforce How Can We Lose Benefits While Remaining Competitive

Carefully. Take all you like, but make certain not to leave any voids.
November 15, 2000
Related Topics: Benefit Design and Communication, Dear Workforce, Benefits

Dear Workforce:

Our company provides vacation pay prior to an employee’sactual vacation. If an employee is scheduled to take vacation during the week ofOctober 9, we would pay that employee on October 5.

The policy is a pain to process, because we have to manuallyadjust paychecks. We would like to discontinue the practice, but are nervousabout taking away an existing benefit. We would like to stay competitive withother employers, and do not want to eliminate the program if other employersoffer it as well.

-- Shelley

A Dear Shelley:

We know of no other companies that offer this generous program. If yourcompany wishes to scrap the program, but not leave a void in its place, here aresome options:

  1. Change policy making employees eligible for vacation time effective fromtheir date of hire so time begins to accumulate right away.

  2. Offer up-front weeks when hiring. For example, if your policy is toprovide 2 weeks after 1 year of service, give an additional week availableimmediately upon hire. The employee then has three weeks during the firstyear.

  3. Allow employees to run vacation time in the negative.

Whenever you withdraw a benefit, you will disgruntle any number of employeesno matter what you do. By offering something in its place, the loss can bepackaged as a "benefits improvement" and perceived less as atake-away.

SOURCE: Work/Life Benefits, Cypress, CA.

E-mail your Dear Workforce questions to Online Editor Todd Raphael at,along with your name, title, organization and location. Unless you stateotherwise, your identifying information may be used on andin Workforce magazine. We can't guarantee we'll be able to answer everyquestion.


 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

If you have any questions or concerns about, please email or call 312-676-9900.

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