Cash­ing in on your hol­i­day

The Tribune (NZ) - - COMMUNITY COOKBOOK - ROB STOCK MONEY MAT­TERS rob.stock@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz

There’s an un­recog­nised cash re­source many of us don’t know we have.

And it can be used to get ahead on the mort­gage, pay off con­sumer debts, or just buy the things we need to live a com­fort­able, mod­ern life.

It’s your fourth week of an­nual leave, or for the for­tu­nate, that fourth and fifth week.

Em­ploy­ment law says your boss must at least con­sider re­quests from em­ploy­ees to ‘‘cash up’’ their fourth week of an­nual leave.

If you are a good, pro­duc­tive em­ployee, whose days at work are worth your salary, your em­ployer should jump at the chance to get those five ex­tra days of labour from you.

In re­turn you get an ex­tra cash in­jec­tion into your life.

There are a lot of peo­ple do­ing it in­clud­ing many of our pub­lic ser­vants.

Re­ports to Par­lia­ment show that in the past fi­nan­cial year, for ex­am­ple, 133 peo­ple from the

Min­istry of Pri­mary In­dus­tries did it. So did 193 from the Min­istry of Busi­ness, Em­ploy­ment and In­no­va­tion.

So did a fur­ther 635 NZ Post em­ploy­ees.

There were 18 TVNZ em­ploy­ees who cashed up a week of their leave, though a fur­ther 33 cashed up more than five days, in­di­cat­ing there are still a few sleek me­dia types with more than four weeks leave writ­ten into their con­tracts.

I reckon th­ese hol­i­day casherup­pers prob­a­bly have a few things in com­mon.

I would an­tic­i­pate many were young and child­less, seek­ing to use their pre-child years to save a de­posit for a home, or pay down a mort­gage in prepa­ra­tion for hav­ing chil­dren.

Oth­ers would be older emp­tynesters who no longer have the pres­sure to make their an­nual hol­i­days stretch to cover school hol­i­days.

I’d also ex­pect most were peo­ple who liked (or at least didn’t mind) their work, and hence were happy to be there for an ex­tra five days.

I’d guess many were also likely to be were more fi­nan­cially lit­er­ate than the av­er­age em­ployee, though some might have got them­selves into a pickle with debt, and were try­ing to claw their way out by any means at their dis­posal.

Cash­ing up leave can also be a means of stick­ing money in the bank, or re­duc­ing debts, if you are con­cerned about the sta­bil­ity of your em­ploy­ment.

I know folk who do some­thing dif­fer­ent, cre­at­ing a bit of DIY re­dun­dancy cover by de­lib­er­ately tak­ing as lit­tle leave as their em­ployer will al­low.

They are build­ing a bank of leave days that will get con­verted to cash should they be made re­dun­dant.

As op­posed to cash­ing the leave in and bank­ing it, they are opt­ing to ‘‘leave it in the till’’ just in case it’s needed.

Squireling away leave against a pos­si­ble re­dun­dancy is not a bad idea in a labour mar­ket where gen­er­ous re­dun­dancy pack­ages are in ter­mi­nal de­cline.

Whether or not you still have an in­come next month, the rent or mort­gage still needs pay­ing, and food still needs putting on the ta­ble.

‘‘Em­ploy­ment law says your boss must at least con­sider re­quests from em­ploy­ees to "cash up" their fourth week of an­nual leave.’’

123RF

If you aren’t too tired, you could try sell­ing a week of an­nual leave back to your em­ployer.

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