Monday, November 1, 2010


I had wanted to go to the Oak Ridge Boys Christmas concert in Tennessee on December 20, but didn’t feel like there was (financially) any way it could happen. Plus, that would mean that I wouldn’t get to WA to see the kids, which is really more important. I did some price checking and discovered that I could probably afford tickets if we flew “less than desirable” flights and flew back home on Christmas morning.

I have three days of PTO (paid time off) left for the rest of the year. I have technically used five hours more than I’ve accrued but by 12/20, I will have accrued 24 more hours – which is what I have left. If we don’t use the hours, we lose them – they don’t roll over to the next year, even though we actually haven’t accrued all of them until 12/2`. Getting the time off approved is another issue altogether because of release schedules and manpower issues. We have 12/23 and 12/24 off as holidays, so that leaves three days to work.

I requested time off at Christmas in July; denied. Reason given was that it was unclear when the release schedule would be updated and there may be a release that week and it was too soon to approve it. OK, I can understand that. Requested time off at Christmas in August; denied. Same reason. Two other people have been approved for the time off – one the week before Christmas and one the week after. Before my heart cath (when I had 5 days left), I requested to take three days off the week of Christmas; denied and was told to address the issue after my test. OK – can understand that, too because we didn’t know what we’d find and I might be off longer than a week. That response also indicated that it’s really hard to plan holidays when you work here and that she (my boss) was unable to get together with her family last year except for Thanksgiving.

Release schedule has been posted and although there is a release scheduled that week, we may not have any reaction to it and even if we do, there are ample people here to handle it. So, I worded an email very carefully and requested to take my last three days off if I managed to hang onto them, expecting a conditional response. I explained that I’d like to go see my new grandson and my other grandkids, one of which I’ve seen once (she’ll be 16 months at Christmas) and the other I’ve seen five times (he was three in September). Denied. Since I am so low on PTO, they denied it. Not even a conditional “if you can keep your hours, you can take them then” response. If I get sick and need to use it, I’m fine with that. But, if I stay well and keep it, why not say “yes” to that? If I purchased airline tickets and had to not use them because I’d used up my time, then the responsibility is on my shoulders, not theirs.

So, I said OK to their response (what else could I say?) and asked, “but if I happen to be healthy and manage to hang onto the time? Late approval, no such luck, or what? I’m not in the market to purchase airline tickets right now anyway but if it gets to December 1 and I still have 3 days left? Take them the last week of the month?” So far, no response but I’m not expecting a favorable response. I’m really beginning to believe that I’m being punished for taking time off without pay (Family Medical Leave Act protection) and that the thought is if I can take time off without pay for Ron, then I should take my remaining PTO for his doctor’s visits. That’s what FMLA is for – to protect you from losing your job, but our handbook states that “the company may require employees to exhaust their accrued paid leave prior to taking unpaid leave.” But, when I specifically asked our HR person last year, she said they didn’t *have* to use my accrued PTO first. I’m just not sure what’s up.

I just honestly don’t get it. I thought scheduling your time was what it’s all about – you schedule some vacation time and then you use some for emergencies and health issues. If I schedule something and have to cancel it because of health issues or emergencies, that is life. But to just tell me no because “I” might get sick and use it before then is a bit much. One friend told me that maybe boss #1 was trying to protect me from boss #2 and her anger because she has fired people before for using their PTO before it was accrued. That really sucks, but she personally has approved the PTO that I took prior to accruing it when Ron was so sick this past summer. If I hadn’t already had my trip with Amy/Isaiah planned and paid for, she might have made me cancel that though. I do know that boss #2 resented (her words, not mine) the time I donated to Toys for Tots last year while I was also taking FMLA time, so I can see that it would be possible that this is the case. Other people have time scheduled on our calendar for the rest of the year, so what is so different about me scheduling it?  If you end up using "scheduled" time, then you deduct it from the remaining time and remove it from the calendar. We’re adults and we know how much time we get each year – something comes up, you re-do your scheduled time.

I am not a very happy camper right now. Amy, Rex, and Isaiah are going to the farm (they were here last year) and I won't get to see the trio in WA so it will be a very quiet and lonely holiday. Bummer...


Roundabout said...

Sorry to your not able to get your time off. It doesn't seem fair.

SkippyMom said...

Here is why I don't think they want to approve this - you said that if you hadn't had already paid for the trip with Amy and Isaiah they might've made you cancel it, but they didn't. You will have to pay, in advance, for a ticket to WA based on "maybe" having 3 days accrued [and not used] by Dec. 20. Don't you think they would have a hard time disallowing you to go even if you had no time off [i.e. you had used up the accrued three days.] because you had the ticket already? Besides which you have to admit Tee - it has been a pretty long year for you and Ronnie and the chances of you needing those three days for either of you being sick is better than not. I think your company is erring on the side of experience [this past year and Ron's health] knowing that there is a good chance those days will be used up. I don't think they want to be the bad guys to make you lose a pre paid ticket in December because the time isn't there, so they want you to actually have it before you can schedule and buy a ticket. They don't want to have to give you three unpaid days off because you have a non refundable ticket. See what I mean?

I hope it all works out for the best or maybe the kids can come here. Hang tough girlie! Hugs.

Pat said...

Doesn't sound fair at ALL!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

That entire situation sounds totally horrible. That is the same kind of unfair my sister experiences at her job. She's in retail and it stinks.

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

Yes - it could be that they're just making sure, but the whole idea is to "plan" a trip and then if it doesn't happen - it doesn't happen. The part about my trip with Amy/Isaiah was because of what it was and where it was, not necessarily only because it was paid for - they've been known to cancel vacations the day before people were to leave on trips.

If other people who are also low on PTO didn't have days approved for around Christmas I probably wouldn't be upset in the least little bit. I took three days PTO when Ron has his leg amputated and I could have taken FMLA instead - and saved those days for Christmas. In hindsight, I wish that I would have.

At this point, I don't know what to think. They still haven't answered my other email so I'm assuming that I will be forced to use my days individually and not together. I've asked Shaun if they could come here and I would buy one airline ticket. They don't think they can afford to do that. {big sigh} If I got to see the kid frequently it wouldn't be a big deal at all. But I don't.

I need to win the lottery - or have someone who really loves me win it. LOL! I think I'll buy a ticket on Saturday!

That corgi :) said...

first time visiting and commenting on your blog; that doesn't seem fair that you were denied that time and it is almost like they are playing "God" trying to predict when you might need your time off. I can see certain parameters they would have to have as a business with allowing time off, like you said with a release schedule, or if there were too many people already scheduled to be off but for them to specifically deny it for reasons that may or may not happen doesn't seem right to me at all.


Marla said...

One of the things I learned when I worked in Corporate America is that fairness has nothing to do with anything. The people in HR are often the worst offenders when it comes to doing what is right. I hate that this is happening to you. I really do.