Paid Wedding Leave – Not!

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Did you know employers in Spain are required to provide 15 days paid wedding leave to employees who are getting married? In Croatia, marriage is considered an “important personal need” and, therefore, qualifies for up to 7 day paid leave from work.[1]  This type of personal leave is also available in a number of African countries (including Libya, South Africa and Togo).[2]

Wedding Ducks, Rystheguy, Wikimedia Commons

Other countries in Europe and around the world provide varying amounts of paid leave for employees who are getting married, either in the form of specific wedding leave or as an accepted use of paid personal leave. We know Europe has very strong labor laws and robust labor unions, so it’s not surprising their leave policies are equally employee-friendly when it comes to weddings. What’s more surprising are progressive leave policies elsewhere in the world. For example, Singapore, which only became fully independent in 1965, typically provides 3-14 days wedding leave.

Wedding Leave - No Such Thing 

If you're planning a wedding in the US, however, you’ll likely have to use your paid vacation time (assuming you get paid vacation!), which will undoubtedly be less than the minimum 20 days paid leave that European employees are entitled to[3]. Even the most established American corporations, that typically do provide paid vacation, offer little or no specific support for marriage-bound employees. Xerox, for example, allows employees up to three days to “complete wedding arrangements,” with any additional time coming out of vacation allotments or unpaid leave. Most US firms provide even less.

In the absence of paid wedding leave, here are some strategies to consider for getting that much needed time to plan and enjoy your wedding.

  1. As soon as you set the date, talk to your employer about carrying forward unused vacation time. If you can save a week of vacation this year and add it to next year’s allotment, it might give you the breathing room you need.
  2. If you are entitled to personal days, use them for focused planning days or add them to accumulated vacation time to extend your wedding break.
  3. If you’ve been banking overtime hours, discuss taking some time off in lieu of payment. If the opportunity exists to take on some extra work now in return for time off in lieu when you need it most, jump on it.
  4. Talk to your manager about flexible hours or working from home sometimes. Working four longer days in return for one afternoon off each week could be just what you need to handle planning details. Working from home could do the same just by freeing up the time you normally spend commuting.
  5. If you’re set on a longer break before and after the wedding, or have no other options available, you may have to request unpaid leave. Although even unpaid leave is not an entitlement since FMLA regulations do not cover marriage. Given enough notice and the resources to plan around your absence, most reasonable employers will give you some unpaid leave to get married.

A Marriage of Planning and Flexibility

As an employee who is getting married, you need to initiate the conversation around time off as soon as possible so you know you are working with and your manager can plan for your absence.

As an employer, it’s important to recognize that marriage is a significant personal event in the life of an employee. Where specific policies are lacking to provide people with some mental space and time off for this key life-stage event, it makes sense for managers to be as flexible as they can in the application of existing leave policies. Supporting employees in what matters most to them builds trust and helps forge stronger long-term relationships. (Do I hear retention bells?).


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[2] Maternity and paternity at work: Law and practice across the world

[3] No‐vacation nation USA  - a comparison of leave and holiday in OECD countries

3 Things That Make a Huge Difference to Employee Satisfaction

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The average time an employee stays at any one employer right now is 4.4 years. For Millennials, the number is expected to be half that.[1] In spite of tight job markets, employees who feel undervalued, who lack confidence in management or have poor relationships with colleagues and managers, leave. Current research suggests, if average tenure is to lengthen, the quality of the work experience will be the deciding factor. Employee Appreciation Cupcakes, Wikimedia Commons According to the 2012 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Report, compensation comes third on employees list of concerns. The CEB Quarterly Global …

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It’s All About Retention

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The most recent release of results from the ongoing National Study of Employers[1] identifies the following five trends between 2008 (in some cases 2005) and 2014. Trend #1: The 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act has leveled the playing field—12 weeks has become the norm for leaves for childbirth, adoption, foster care placement, a serious personal medical condition or care of a child or spouse with a serious medical condition; at the same time, longer leaves are less available. Trend #2: Demographics are destiny, though legal and attitudinal shifts have an impact, too! Trend #3: Smaller employers are big leaders in providing flexibility and in not …

When is a Vacation Not a Vacation?

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The United States continues to be the only advanced economy in the world that does not require employers to provide any paid vacation[1]. Although an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act was submitted to congress in May, 2013 to try and change that [2], it was referred to a subcommittee for further study. Iconic photo of JFK on vacation, Public Domain Since paid vacation is not mandatory in the U.S., many workers (especially low wage workers) get little or none. In a competitive job environment, even those who are entitled to paid vacation, based on the specific terms of their …

Pet Friendly Workplaces

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One of the most popular items we posted on our blog lately happened to be the HR eCard about pet friendly workplaces. The card itself was mildly funny, but nothing spectacular. So what made this post so popular, we asked? Could it be that the topic of pet friendly workplaces was of particular interest to our readers? Just in case it was the topic and not the cute HR eCard that caught everyone’s attention, we thought we’d do this follow up article about pet (or more specifically dog) friendly workplaces.   Approximately 44% of Americans and 33% of …

Employee Turnover Reduction Strategies

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Originally posted to as How to Curb Employee Turnover. There’s one statistic that hangs heavy over the head of every HR manager: employee churn. In January, Fast Company reported that men will hold an average of 11.4 jobs in their lifetimes and women will hold 10.7. Meanwhile, the median number of years a U.S. worker has been in his or her current job is just 4.4—a sharp decline from the 1970s and a far cry from the “company man” era. While it may be more likely that a business will lose employees, that doesn …

Do The Hardest Hires Have to Be Bought?

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Making the right hire is one of the hardest tasks that businesses ask HR to help perform. And while there are a number of strategies that can help you (shameless plug: maybe an applicant tracking system from TribeHR?), still it can feel like the best prospects simply aren’t interested in getting new jobs. Networking, recruiting agencies, online job portals, and even beautiful robust applicant tracking systems (sorry!) won’t always cut it. So what if you could just buy them out? Flickr/A.Currell An increasing number of firms arerecruiting kidnapping finding top-notch personnel through a practice known as …

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