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Jaffa donuts

wanting to cancel booked leave due to lockdown

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Jaffa donuts

DH's job has been ongoing throughout the pandemic. There was a massive slow down early on, and employees were asked to take some leave  and/or leave without pay during the first lockdown, but everyone remained employed and work has picked up now and they are quite busy.

One of his co-workers had leave booked for this upcoming week and as soon as Vic was put back into lockdown, this employee asked if their leave could be cancelled, as they didn't want to take the leave when they could no longer go on their booked holiday.  

This request was denied, because it was already in the system.  

This seems rather harsh to me.  No extra staffing was put in place to cover this employees leave, their workload is simply covered by existing workers as per normal. 

Given that employees have already 'lost' leave due to being forced to take it during the first lockdown, given that everyone was asked to sacrifice for the good of the company it seems a very small thing to ask that the company repay that loyalty by allowing someone to cancel their leave and thus benefit from it at a later date.  

I think that DH and his co-workers (who are quite a close knit group who are required to work well together as a team in order to do their jobs effectively) should back this employee with a complaint to management because it goes to the ethos of the company, it goes to morale and ultimately it affects everyone, that the company asks employees to make sacrifices but isn't prepared to repay that sacrifice with a small amount of goodwill in return.

However I'm sure there is a different view to mine so before I let my outrage get out of control, please set me straight on other ways to look at this from the company's perspective.  

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Evra

I agree with you! It doesn’t seem fair. Especially after being forced to use leave and when things are busy now! I had a similar situation in the first lockdown. My manager had to liaise with payroll to get the leave canceled in the system, but it got done eventually. I just had to email my manager to put the dates and reason for cancelling in writing. 

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seayork2002

I am not going to word this correctly but my instinct with this is other people involving themselves in this does not sit right with me.

I have stepped in ocassionaly with staffing issues so I do think it is right sometimes but going with the op on this occasion not this time.

But it is up to your husband and the coworkers what they decide

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Kiwi Bicycle

DH was asked to take leave last month even though he was busy. Now has been asked to take more leave. It's a global policy and required to reduce a liability on the company's books. There might be more to the story than has been made public, so I would tread carefully and not become involved.

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YodaTheWrinkledOne

Is the whole of Victoria in lockdown? I thought Victorian border was closed and only Melbourne was in lockdown. I didn't realise the whole state was in lockdown?

24 minutes ago, Kiwi Bicycle said:

DH was asked to take leave last month even though he was busy. Now has been asked to take more leave. It's a global policy and required to reduce a liability on the company's books. There might be more to the story than has been made public, so I would tread carefully and not become involved.

This. Ideally, it would be nice if the company would allow the leave to be withdrawn but these are unusual circumstances and there may be more going on in the background than you are aware of. 

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hills mum bec

I would let it go.  There are many reasons why a company would not be allowing the cancellation of the leave.  I am speaking as an employer who has recently had to force employees on leave.  For our business we have a lot of employees with high leave balances which is a big liability to the company.  While we don't begrudge employees taking the leave they are entitled to, under normal trading conditions it can be disruptive when an employee is on leave.  COVID meant that business for us slowed down dramatically.  We were never at risk of having to lay off staff but it did present the opportunity for staff to take leave with less disruption to business flow with the added bonus of reducing leave balances.  During that time we had staff that had booked periods of leave that we refused to cancel.  Now things are getting back to normal here (in SA) we have never been busier and if we had allowed those staff back in April to cancel their leave  then, they would want to be booking it now when we are at our busiest.  As a business it make sense to have your staff on leave during times that are not busy rather than when you are busiest.

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Kreme

I don’t think it is a big enough issue to make a fuss about. My DH has had to take leave to just sit around the house, as has everyone in his company. Many also took up offers to have a sabbatical on reduced pay. In overseas offices they have been offered redundancy. 
 

No company is going to want to come out of the pandemic with a whole lot of untaken leave on their books because people didn’t want to take it unless they were going away. If you’re in a permanent, stable job with benefits like annual leave and sick leave I think you should feel very fortunate right now. 

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YodaTheWrinkledOne
11 minutes ago, Kreme said:

No company is going to want to come out of the pandemic with a whole lot of untaken leave on their books because people didn’t want to take it unless they were going away. If you’re in a permanent, stable job with benefits like annual leave and sick leave I think you should feel very fortunate right now. 

Agree. Whether you are going away or not, or where you were planning to go, is irrelevant to the employer. 

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YodaTheWrinkledOne

OP, are you based in Melbourne? Your first post didn't explicitly say.

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CrankyM
23 minutes ago, Kreme said:

No company is going to want to come out of the pandemic with a whole lot of untaken leave on their books because people didn’t want to take it unless they were going away. If you’re in a permanent, stable job with benefits like annual leave and sick leave I think you should feel very fortunate right now. 

This is pretty much what my workplace has stated too. EVERYONE is to take all accumulated leave by the end of the year. They have some totally ridiculous leave liability at the moment, I'm talking worth millions. You are allowed to keep 1 week I think once end of January 2021 rolls around. It means I'm going to need to use up about 7 weeks leave at some point (my dept. is short staffed and I pretty much can't take leave at the moment without blowing our casual budget out of the water).

I had to actually get permission from the dept. head, not just my library manager to cancel the leave I had booked for july/august (culmination of overseas travel being canned and a hiring freeze in place and someone retiring...) Personally I wouldn't get involved. There will some reason behind it, not just "you can't take leave".

 

DH's work has also requested the same. They want everyone to have run down their leave balances by December.

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Luci

When the situation is taken just at face value I agree OP it seems a bit harsh and I don't think it was unreasonable of your DH's colleague to request that his leave be cancelled. 

However I was thinking the same as some PP's - there  might be more to this story than you have been made aware of.  While it's not ideal I would tend towards letting it go. 

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PhillipaCrawford

While it seeems logical to only take leave when you can actually use it, many people inlcuding my DH are being asked to tak eany leave they have owing.
It's that or the company go under basically- they can't face the economic difficulty when things restart of having to factor in people being able to take leave.

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born.a.girl
Just now, PhillipaCrawford said:

While it seeems logical to only take leave when you can actually use it, many people inlcuding my DH are being asked to tak eany leave they have owing.
It's that or the company go under basically- they can't face the economic difficulty when things restart of having to factor in people being able to take leave.

I think this is the level of detail we'd need to know about the company.  Plenty won't survive, despite being 'busy' for all sorts of reasons.

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nom_de_plume

In addition to what's been said above, organisations are also asking employees to take leave from a wellbeing perspective.

In pre-Covid times, many workplaces had a culture of presenteeism and this is slowly changing. Many employees are also struggling with burn out from trying to balance work, remote learning and other responsibilities at a time when many of our self-care mechanisms are unavailable (organised sport, the gym, arts, social activities). They are now encouraging staff to take leave in order to take a break from working.

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lozoodle

YEp a lot of companies are doing this right now. Annual leave is a liability on their books.

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TheGreenSheep
2 hours ago, Kiwi Bicycle said:

DH was asked to take leave last month even though he was busy. Now has been asked to take more leave. It's a global policy and required to reduce a liability on the company's books. There might be more to the story than has been made public, so I would tread carefully and not become involved.

 

1 hour ago, Kreme said:

I don’t think it is a big enough issue to make a fuss about. My DH has had to take leave to just sit around the house, as has everyone in his company. Many also took up offers to have a sabbatical on reduced pay. In overseas offices they have been offered redundancy. 
 

No company is going to want to come out of the pandemic with a whole lot of untaken leave on their books because people didn’t want to take it unless they were going away. If you’re in a permanent, stable job with benefits like annual leave and sick leave I think you should feel very fortunate right now. 

These ^^^

DHs company has requested staff take leave several times over COVID-19. They have explained that it’s a debt on the companies books and when losing money it’s a debt they are not wanting to carry forward. Unfortunately DH has a miserable amount of leave due to sick leave eating away at it. So he isn’t in the position to take any. The company have also acknowledged that during these times people cannot go anywhere, but please take it anyway.

OP by all means vent away, but I wouldn’t involve myself in it at this time.

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~LemonMyrtle~

I’d also just leave it. We are also taking forced leave at my workplace. And we are also flat out and busy. It’s because globally the company is suffering, and locally we have additional costs to keep on going (like using 1000 masks a day for staff)

Any other time I’m all for backing up fellow employees. But during this pandemic, it’s just bad luck. Lots of people have had cancelled holidays and forced to take time off to do nothing but stay at home. And a week off work is still a week off work. He can still be productive with that week. 

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AnaBeavenhauser

For the economic business reason but , as someone else mentioned, for wellness purposes and not wanting to fatigue staff. No one is going anywhere at the moment but we all need a break from work albeit hanging around home or local travel, (state dependant). Not worth getting involved with.

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Jaffa donuts

Cool, thanks everyone. Seems like there is agreement on the other perspective, exactly what I was looking for. I have been out for a walk now and feel much less frustrated.  I shall !et it go.

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Lesley225

I've been asked to take leave because mine is getting up there although still under the max i can carry.  I'm retiring in 7 months and am trying to keep it high to maximise the payout to pay for a new kitchen.  Will have (with LSL) about 10 months.

I will have to take a little and wouldn't mind a week off around this time but have been told i can't take any leave anyway till end of year as it's too busy.

These messages were from two different people.   Take leave from top boss, no leave allowable from two bosses down.

Anyway i'm a public servant so some of the above comments wouldn't apply to me.  But i can understand not wanting to take leave now but being grateful to have a job.

But i have to say i didn't want to take leave earlier as i couldn't do anything whereas in a few weeks time i plan to finish moving in and would really need time off  then.

With everyone having to take all their leave and not being able to go anywhere it's going to further depress tourism.  

 

 

 

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WaitForMe

We've been asked to get our leave down to a very small amount, as a way of saving jobs. For some people this is months worth of leave that tbh I'm surprised they've been allowed to accumulate so much. I'm probably going to get the accounting a bit wrong but my understanding is companies need to keep the value of that leave in reserved funds so they are able to pay it out if need be.

And, as my workplace has pointed out, whether you go away or not you need to take regular leave for your personal wellbeing.

 

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born.a.girl
11 minutes ago, WaitForMe said:

We've been asked to get our leave down to a very small amount, as a way of saving jobs. For some people this is months worth of leave that tbh I'm surprised they've been allowed to accumulate so much. I'm probably going to get the accounting a bit wrong but my understanding is companies need to keep the value of that leave in reserved funds so they are able to pay it out if need be.

And, as my workplace has pointed out, whether you go away or not you need to take regular leave for your personal wellbeing.

 

Not exactly have to keep the actual amount in a bank account, but the debt appears on their balance sheet, and may affect their ability to borrow money.

Not being able to trade while insolvent is a far more complex issue, but also involves levels of debt.

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Fluffy Potatoes

Dh’s work gets antsy when they have more than 15 days accrued leave and policy is for them not to have more than 21 days accrued at any given time. So between various work trips and projects he’s had to take a few days off here and there just to use it up even though we’ve had no plans.  Has been kind of lovely having him around. 

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CrankyM
Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, WaitForMe said:

For some people this is months worth of leave that tbh I'm surprised they've been allowed to accumulate so much.

I think it's written into our EBA that the max accumulation before it will need to be take or paid out is about 10 weeks where I work. Probably why when the email around leave came around it had a "we have a xx million leave liability, you NEED to take it so we can keep your jobs".

However due to circumstances, some people have accumulated a fair amount because areas have been run very short staffed and leave requested hasn't been approved... I also live in an area where many positions, especially those related to government services, education,  essential services and private contractors associated with those essential services get 5-6 weeks annual leave a year, not your standard 4 (or the equivalent pro-rata). Our work gets around it by making only the 4 weeks component accumulative. The other 2 weeks is "special annual leave" and if not used is paid out in January. So every one uses that first and then accumulates the 4 weeks if they don't take it. I usually use most of mine, but somehow I barely took time off last year.

Edited by CrankyM

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YodaTheWrinkledOne
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, CrankyM said:

This is pretty much what my workplace has stated too. EVERYONE is to take all accumulated leave by the end of the year. 

I am expecting a similar directive from our HR in the next few weeks too.  They will want everyone to get their leave balances under 4 weeks by the end of the year

Edited by YodaTheWrinkledOne

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