18.8.03



A European vacation

Most employers in DC provide 10 paid days of vacation leave per year. Some think tanks, like the Brookings Institution, start employees off with 5 paid weeks. And embassy employers follow the laws of the home country, providing employees with 6 - 8 weeks of paid leave per year.

Joe Robinson is lobbying for a national three-week minimum paid leave law. I can't imagine what my life would be like without those three weeks off, and more often than not it's not enough.

I traveled to Portugal with my parents last summer. My Portuguese family were appalled that I was only visiting for a week. After all, they had the entire month of August off. Why couldn't I have taken off another week? They could not understand that had I extended my leave, I wouldn't be able to accrue enough days to visit my family for a week at Christmas.


Joe Robinson writes in his Alternet piece:

"Vacations are being downsized by the same forces that brought us soaring work weeks: labor cutbacks, a sense of false urgency created by tech tools, fear and guilt. Managers use the climate of job insecurity to stall, cancel and abbreviate paid leave, while piling on guilt. The message, overt or implied, is that it would be a burden on the company to take all your vacation days – or any. Employees get the hint: One out of five employees say they feel guilty taking their vacation, reports Expedia's survey."

My time off is sacred. How many of you don't take a vacation? Or feel guilty about taking one? Or don't have vacation time to take off? Would you consider less pay for a more generous and flexible leave package?

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