Should Employees Receive Compensation for off-the-clock phone use?
A majority of European Union (EU) employers struggle to make sense of the mandatory vacation entitlements. In the EU, the law provides employees with mandatory levels of vacation. For instance, in the UK, a full-time employee is entitled to take 28 vacation days, while in France, employees are entitled to 5 weeks of vacation (in addition to public holidays).
Many EU employers are finding it more and more difficult to get their employees to take their vacation days off. Employees who don’t take their holidays until November or December, can pose severe problems for employers trying to manage their budgets as well as their workforce. Moreover, employees who fail to take vacation time make it even more difficult for employers to comply with the obligations under legislation relating to working time.
There are various solutions, of course. One popular option is adopting the Use it or Lose It policies, where employees are not allowed to carry over unused holiday days into the next year. Such policies, however, must be enforced in such a way that they are in lieu of other employment rights. Employees should only be allowed to accrue holiday if they have a meaningful chance to use it – such as maternity or adoption leave.
Some employers are even trying their hand at offering unlimited holidays. As lucrative as this sounds, the basic idea behind this perk to give employees a sense of entitlement and personal responsibility. Unlimited vacation days is a new concept in the US and UK, where the right to a set period of annual leave
is deeply rooted in public conscience. Some studies suggest, that it does not end up encouraging employees to take leaves, and could be challenged as failing to ensure employees take the level of holiday which the law protects.
Employers doing business in the EU would be well advised to make sure employees are using their holiday as it falls due. Hoarding or delaying vacation days can lead to a host of legal problems.