I was going to geek out about something that happened in WoW over the weekend, but I'll relegate that to a separate post and talk about some interesting developments at work instead.
We got a confusing memo from the CEO last Monday where, in his usual double-speak, roundabout way he said (as nearly as we could tell) that we would be required to take additional paid vacation time this year in order to save the company money. That seemed slightly counter-intuitive to a lot of us, but he said that our VP of Human Resources would be sending out a follow-up memo to translate what he had said into English. The promised clarification finally came out on Thursday, and while it adequately explained the what portion of the original message, it didn't really make the why any clearer. This strikes me as one of those "paper only" cost savings that shareholders like to see, but don't translate into real money at the end of the day.
Here is the tl;dr version of the the change they are making. A few years ago they changed our vacation entitlement from accrued vacation to current vacation, and now they have decided that they can save money by switching us all over to current. As a result, anyone who hired on prior to 1996 (like me), or hired on into a union position (guilty again) is on accrued vacation, and must switch over to current.
So what does this mean, and how does it affect me?
My vacation entitlement is based on my previous year, thus my five weeks of vacation time this year are based on the fact that I worked a full year in 2008. If I had only worked a half year in 2008 due to illness, or unpaid leave then I would only be entitled to 2 1/2 weeks of vacation this year. Starting this year, my vacation is based on the current year. This means that if I took all five weeks off in January, and then left the company (or went off on extended sick leave) from the start of July to the end of the year, I would have to pay back 2 1/2 weeks of vacation pay to the company.
How this affects me more immediately is that I suddenly find myself with five weeks of current vacation entitlement, and five weeks of accrued vacation entitlement. In short, rather than five weeks of paid vacation time to burn this year, I have ten weeks. Any other year I probably wouldn't complain about this, but with atara being in school full time, we have neither the money, nor the shared time off to go anywhere or do anything with this extra time off. Fortunately they are only requiring us to take the accrued vacation two weeks at a time, so I can take seven weeks off this year, seven weeks off next year, and then six the year after. Oh, and I also have another four days of paid lieu time from working a couple of weekends a month that I have to sneak in there somewhere.
This is sounding like a good year to seclude myself away in the basement and teach myself to play the nose flute (or some other obscure, under-appreciated instrument).