Vacation allocation

Question: Every Spring I take my vacation time to go visit my daughter in England.  Happily this year she will have a new baby a few weeks before my usual trip. I usually go for 3 weeks but my employer will only approve one this year.  For staffing reasons, they say that they just can’t afford to be shorthanded at that time.  I am going to see my first grandchild this spring.  What are my options?

Answer: Unfortunately, you do not have a lot of options.  Pursuant to the Employment Standards Act and the courts the employer has the absolute discretions as to when vacation can be scheduled.  While they must allow it to be taken in one week blocks, other than that rule there is very little fettering their discretion.  Do not announce now that you are going either way.  Two weeks before you are due to leave simply hand in a note indicating that you will be going on vacation as you planned.

They may give you a letter indicating that if you take that vacation you will be considered to have quit.  Alternatively it might say that taking the vacation without their permission is just cause for your termination and you will be terminated.  They would be right either way.  I have seen many situations in which the employer has made the threat of ending the relationship but then backed off.  If they are so short staffed they may decide to swallow their pride and let you return. 

Finally, I strongly recommend that you do not give more than 2 weeks notice that you are in fact taking your vacation because you may end up being walked out the door before you were planning to go without a paycheque.  Some would say that separate and apart from that strategic consideration, any employer who will not let you have 3 weeks to go see your first grandchild does not deserve the courtesy of more than 2 weeks notice.   

Ed Canning
Ed Canning
P: 905.572.5809