Should Em­ploy­ees Re­ceive Com­pen­sa­tion for off-the-clock phone use?

The HR Digest - - Content Features -

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.

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