Explain This to Me

by Evil HR Lady on May 29, 2007

I got a phone call from a former employee. She had secured a job offer at another company. Their standard package for an employee at her level included two weeks of vacation and no stock options. However, if she could prove that her previous job offered her three weeks of vacation and stock, she could have them there as well.

She wanted a letter that stated she had stock options and three weeks vacation. Since she did have those things, I wrote her a letter on company letter-head, signed it, and sent it to her. (Please note, I did not send it to her new company. That would be in violation of our policy to not disclose anything other than title and dates of service. But, I can send that information to the employee.)

I honestly don’t understand the logic this company is using. Yes, if they were trying to lure her away from us, I can see trying to compensate for lost stock options. But, this person no longer worked for us. She had already lost her non-vested stock options.

How does that work out as fair? If we are in the same job, with the same experience and you get stock and an extra week of vacation–not because you wisely negotiated it, but because you’d had it previously–doesn’t that open the company up to morale problems, not to mention discrimination charges if the races/genders happen to be different?

Someone explain to me why this is a good policy.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

she said: May 29, 2007 at 9:41 pm

I’ve never heard of anything like it. And kind of goes against the grain of “incentive stock options”.

And when did vacation time become negotiable? Most companies have a set vacation time standard and you only get more when you’ve worked long enough.

Truthfully – I’d fire the person who gave the employee this option.

If other employees got wind of this (and they will because chances are employee can’t keep their mouth shut) it’s going to create a lot of resentment.

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Evil HR Lady May 30, 2007 at 3:46 pm

I just can’t see where it would lead to anything good in the long run. Sure, executives can have more vacation that us squids at the low level, but all the squids better have the same vacation.

I love vacation.

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Karen May 30, 2007 at 6:49 pm

Evil,

I must agree that I’ve seen this sort of thing happen when one company is trying to “lure” an employee away from another, but not usually in other cases.

Are you sure they knew she didn’t work there anymore?

(Trust no-one!)

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Wally Bock May 30, 2007 at 9:19 pm

This sounds like a company responding to the War for Talent Chicken Littles. “This is a quality person,” they shout, “We must have her at any cost!!” A wise (HR) person once said to me, “If they come for pay, they’ll leave for pay.” I can now add a corollary: “If they come for more vacation, they’ll leave for more vacation.”

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Evil HR Lady May 30, 2007 at 9:24 pm

Karen–that’s a darn good question. She may have told them that she was still employed, I don’t know. If they called for a reference check they’d find out that she wasn’t.

Wally, I will come for more vacation. I really will. I was just talking to a friend whose husband works at Ikea. She said they got two weeks of vacation and 20 holidays and unlimited sick days that could be used to take care of sick children. I immediately went to their website to see if they had any jobs in my area.

I’m trying to find a job where I work 3 weeks a year and get 49 weeks of vacation.

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Working Girl May 30, 2007 at 11:55 pm

Evil,

Move to France. They have TONS of vacation! And they work only 35 hours a week. It’s a worker’s paradise.

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Evil HR Lady May 31, 2007 at 1:12 am

Working Girl–
Only problem is, I don’t speak French. Well, that and as a free market capitalist, the French employment rules would push me over the edge. I think I’d go insane.

But, I’d get a lot of vacation. Hmmm, maybe I should learn French.

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Rodolphe Mortreuil March 28, 2008 at 2:57 pm

I am French. I emigrated to the UK. Don’t to it, Evil, you will get more holiday-time during which to treat your work-related ulcers.

Not to mention unsightly premature grey hair.

(just discovered your blog, I’m on my second day straight working my way through all your posts. Us French people are really hard workers.)

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Mike January 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Dear Evil,
Negotiating vacation time is something occurs with greater frequency now. A company in our area in VT offers everyone 4 weeks. whether you’ve been there 1 month or thirty years.
some of the orginals who started long before that plan are a bit miffed but overall the deal is good. today’s environment leaves most workers with out the option of working their way into these greater leave categories due to companies lack of longevity. many of the workers hired HAVE worked for 20-30 years, so their experience comes with them. Happy employees are productive ones.

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