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074 - Holiday Breaks & Breakdowns

Everybody needs a break. All the time. Everyday. 365/24/7 or so it seems. The duo discusses how PTO and the holidays collide, the new norms in time off, unplug culture, and how to try your best to chill the F' out (cough cough). Take a break and give it a listen.





Listen here.



Alexa

What's up, Tyson?



Tyson

Oh, my gosh. I actually have some some interesting an interesting update, I guess.



Alexa

Amazing. I can't wait.



Tyson

So it's not it's interesting, but it's also like mostly just like a lot of nerves for me. So I am going on my very first business trip since. Oh, from that we've gone. Yeah, I'm going to be gone for two nights and three days, which is super exciting. I can't wait to be in real life with people again.



Tyson

But this means that I'm also the new way for my baby for two nights. So I'm like dealing with a lot of those emotions and fears and, like, she has. No, it's just I just look at her and I'm like, Oh, she has no idea what's up, but, like, what's going to happen in the next day or so, and then I'm going to be gone.



Tyson

And it just it breaks my heart, but I got to return it off eventually.



Alexa

Do you? Do you? This is this is a natural progression. And she will she will survive. I'm sure your husband is well equipped to to watch for her for two days. But and I'm excited for you to to have a your first business trip.



Tyson

No.



Alexa

Which is so far.



Tyson

Yeah. No, it's it's going to be extremely interesting.



Alexa

Nice. Well, speaking of business, trips, I guess I have a phone announcement for everyone that's listening to this, which is first and foremost that we are finally launching our official hotline, which is basically a way to call in. Leave us a voicemail with your questions, responses, comments, funny stories. Again, all entirely anonymous. I think we've we've sort of tipped this off a bit before but if you want to be anonymous, please remain anonymous.


Alexa

If you do not, obviously feel free to tell us who you are and we'd love, love to hear it so you can call in at any point going forward from when you hear this. So give us your tips comments, questions, stories. Two, three, ten, five, six, four, 64 62. Again, that is the official people problems hotline. No wrong answers.


Alexa

Just don't be an asshole. Three ten five, six, four, six, four, 62. And we will start to play those and work some of those into future episodes, which is super fun. Feels like a big deal. And I'm really excited to see what people call in with and tell us because I'm sure there's some crazy shit that we just like can't quite articulate from a DM on Instagram.


Alexa

So it's better to hear someone tell the story so excited about that. Yeah, and I'm, I'm, uh, I'm also headed back to the States for a little while, so that's kind of exciting as well. It is the holiday season, Tyson, which we are going to talk about on this episode. And last but not least, our shameless plug. Have you joined the people of society yet, or perhaps as we call it, which is our community of people, arts and air professionals and listeners of the show, you can join our community to use the forum for peer feedback, download Awesome Resources written by peers, connect with thought leaders in H.R. and the benefits space and get access to


Alexa

great free courses. All included. Use the code people problems that people of society rt.com to get 20% off your membership and make sure to follow us on all things social and people problems. Paths are not shook and the influencer spelled with an h r and you not subscribe to the People Problems newsletter. Please do so at our website People Problems podcast.


Alexa

So make sure you sign up for our newsletter where we share our weekly episodes as well as tips, tricks, and sort of in the news segments from Tyson and I every week All right, Tyson, I said all of that and now I'm tired, which indicates that maybe I need a break and it's time to talk about PTF. So it's it's the holidays it's it's one of my strong suits is a good thing.


Alexa

Yeah. So the holiday season is among us, kind of regardless of the country that you're in, at least the Christmas holidays is coming down the pike in the States. We have the Thanksgiving holiday, which is quite a big holiday here as well as Christmas. So the end of the year in the United States, more work perspective is always a bit of like a Swiss cheese clusterfuck because there's like these two big holidays.


Alexa

And we'll talk about the week between Christmas and New Year's, I'm sure. But people are starting to figure out, like, you know, what are they what's what's the end of the year look like? We're six weeks from New Year as the recording of this, not to to date our episodes, but yeah, a lot lot happens in the next couple of weeks.


Alexa

What are your opening thoughts on PTO and holiday time off?


Tyson

So one thing that really just came to a huge surprise to me was that not everyone gets that week between Christmas and New Year's off. I just thought that, like, moving forward with the world, like that's kind of where we were going. Like, I don't understand why people work during that time unless there is like obviously some sort of customer response or, you know, some reason why you'd have to be like live like the people who work 20 47 kind of thing.


Tyson

Right?


Alexa

But I seasonal like in retail or something, right?


Tyson

No, exactly. I just, I'm talking like I say corporate, right? Like most corporate, not retail. Yeah, exactly.


Alexa

Right.


Tyson

The corporate people of retail probably get the time off potentially.


Alexa

What I've seen that's interesting is so I've always been curious about this because I'm like, look, I used to always feel really bad for the people that would like email me on Black Friday. And I'm like, Why did they make you go back to the office for this? Like one fucking day after you've like, had a whole day to spend with your family and relax and then the weekend starts, like, why do they make you go back in?


Alexa

And then I started to realize more and more people do the same thing for the week between Christmas and New Year's. And I think it just goes back to what I have seen increasingly so is that people are starting to gift this that gifted.


Tyson

Yes. Yes.


Alexa

Because they're saying like, we're closing the office because, one, I think nobody wants to work to know it's going back to the office. Three, it's like everyone's sort of collectively understands that you're not going to be very productive that like I think there are people like myself sometimes like I do sometimes work during that week. But for me, it's like good, unadulterated like me productive catch up time.


Alexa

That's very different than like, I need you to be in meetings and I need you to, like, show up at the office. I think that's increasingly some companies are trying to gift it as like, oh, look, we take care of our team. Yeah, but it's not it's not a majority for show.


Tyson

No, I guess you're right. And what's funny is so what I'm definitely seeing a lot more, like you said, the gifting, but I actually did work for a company not where I currently work, but I did work for a company previously where they did not gift it, but mandated you take it off. So in Ontario you can actually do that.


Tyson

Like legally you're allowed to tell people when to take their vacation. So we were forced to take two or three depending on like what the stats look like that your days off. And there was actually a lot of feedback like, hey, I don't actually celebrate Christmas. Why am I being forced to take this time off? So some of that feedback happened, but just generally we kind of said, well, you know, our clients aren't in that particular space.


Tyson

Our clients take this time off. So there's no point for us to be to be active. And it's, you know, a good time to recharge and whatever. And usually like I know this year is a little bit wonky because the two, maybe even three steps. So Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year's Day might all fall on weekends this year.


Tyson

So I think what a lot of.


Alexa

Christmas and New Year's Eve of Sunday is this year, which kind of sucks.


Tyson

Yeah. So they're popping that time into the week, right? So you get your start like in lieu of it's like in that week in between, you're like that.


Alexa

New Year's Day on the second. So everyone gets Monday the second off, even though New Year's Day falls on the first.


Tyson

But I think what some companies are doing is they're giving that day off on the Friday before, oh, first to make it inclusive. So we come back to work on the second. Oh, and then the day off isn't on the Friday.


Alexa

Yeah. In the US all of this is marked at least federal holidays are like bank holidays are marked. I mean, just let me actually look.


Tyson

At the.


Alexa

Calendar. No, it's, it's Monday. It's all I think it's almost always the next business day after.


Tyson

I think it usually is. But I'm pretty sure companies are allowed to be like, we're going to make you work on the second, but we're going to observe it. And you're okay to do that. As long as you're doing it, you're giving it so there's no like need to pay like time and a half or anything like that on the Monday that you make people work, given the fact that you gave it in lieu on the Friday before, because then it just makes that the week a little bit cleaner so that we start on Monday again.


Tyson

That's just like I don't have a whole, I don't know, every single company and like what they're planning on doing. But that's my, my current situation is that we're observing it on the Friday before. Yeah. But yeah, I just.


Alexa

Feel like it's really important for people to like give people a chance to turn off. Like for me, it's always like, I know. And we started this conversation when we were talking about like how people don't actually take all of their vacation days yes. And like, you know, me and my team have unlimited PTO. You need a break, you take a break.


Alexa

That's my policy. But I'm a small team and I have the luxury of being able to do that. And I have people that I trust. I have absolutely had people on my team that have taken advantage of me for this. But for the most part, people are do a pretty good job. And I trust that, like, when they're on their on and when they're off, they're off.


Alexa

But I just think like this bullshit where you, like, would go, would you leave for Christmas and then come back for like three days and leave again for New Years? And you're supposed to come back in the New Year with like a fresh head and a fresh start like I just don't know how you do that without more than a couple of days off.


Tyson

Yeah. And just there's such a majority of people that are going to be taking those time, those days off like so for example, my, my mother, she, she does not get that week off.


Alexa

They still shout out to Connie.


Tyson

But the challenge with that is they're so much like, hey, can you cover, can you cover, can you cover that? It just like it becomes so like operationally it becomes so challenging to even be open during that time because there are so many people that are like, no, I want to take this time off. And I just like, you know, and what ends up happening is those few days are so quiet and so like, there's nothing that gets done.


Tyson

So you might as well in my opinion.


Alexa

Just, yeah.


Tyson

Off if you can. Yeah. I think it's different, obviously, like if you're in government, but yeah. So I think like that time like my thought is at that time should be off. But I did want to before we moved too far ahead, I wanted to talk about unlimited PTO quickly, Stuart, because this is another thing so I think I think the idea of unlimited PTO is a good one.


Tyson

But the problem is I think that people find and I think that there's research that says this is when your PTO is unlimited, you actually use less of it. Yeah. You don't you don't take it because there's kind of this idea that's like, ooh, like is this allowed like am I allowed to be taking this day off? Like, I don't really know.


Tyson

Like, the policy seems very unclear versus if you give somebody three weeks, they know, okay, I have 15 days that I can take this year and then they know how to like spread that out through the year and that sort of thing. So I actually I have some beef with, with unlimited PTO for like bigger scale companies because yeah, sometimes I'm like, wait, is this just like a cop out for having to pay people their, their vacation?


Tyson

Because that's another time. Like another thing with unlimited PTO is I find that companies try to get away from like paying out what's oh was it's use it or lose it. Right. If you don't take your three weeks then right like sucks to suck you don't get it and like there's more flexibility. I guess when when your PTO is unlimited to do that and I don't really know how it works legally but it does somehow when you have unlimited PTO.


Alexa

So there's I mean, I don't want to use the legality of it because we don't have our boy John Heiman here.


Tyson

Yeah.


Alexa

Know experts. This is not legal advice, but you're not you're not owed PTO if there's not a mechanism by which you are accruing it. So if it is unlimited, I don't think like there's not it's not like, oh, you didn't take any vacation. You have unlimited PTO. I owe you for the time you didn't take. And I actually think that's one of the things that I've seen companies go back and forth on this where some of them are actually trying to get back to PTO because they want to be able to use that.


Alexa

They want to be able to have someone say like I didn't take my vacations. I want to work through that. And then on the other side, there are some companies that are like, I just don't have to keep fucking track of this anymore because it is like very administrative and I don't know enough about like.


Tyson

But the thing is, you are owed that time. So if.


Alexa

No, it was salary.


Tyson

No, no. So no. Bye bye. Like employment legislation that's like there's in Canada. Okay, so California, it's not different. California definitely has vacation in great. But in Canada. Yes, absolutely. Like you either get time or pay in lieu of time. So for example, in Ontario, I think we're at three weeks like you are owed three weeks of vacation.


Tyson

And if you don't give that time to the person and you don't pay that throughout the year as like a vacation pay per cent, you have to pay that out at the end of the year or have some sort of policy which allows you to like carry over a certain amounts and like that sort of thing. So like there actually is no legality to.


Alexa

State by state because I don't even want to go down this rabbit hole because.


Tyson

No, yeah, but I'm just saying like it's yeah, it's a cop out you have to be aware of. So like if you are doing unlimited PTO, then people aren't taking it like there could be like you might have to pay though.


Alexa

Yeah. So my so my issue with PTO, unlimited PTO is I think it gets a bad rap for this exact, this exact situation. I have also considered just being lenient with people with PTO instead of doing the unlimited thing because it's just get.


Tyson

Five weeks or something.


Alexa

Yeah. Or like, you know, you get one month or whatever. But it's interesting because I think what's, what's interesting about it, it's also it's the two things have to go together and there has to be a cultural foundation for this. So for example, I shut down the office the equivalent of two weeks every year. So by the time between the days for Thanksgiving, the days between Christmas and New Year's, and then usually days around Fourth of July, I have officially given my team two weeks that are mandated.


Alexa

So it's a minimum of a two week. So it's unlimited PTO, but minimum of two weeks. And the whole idea is like, I'm just not I'm not interested in clocking you if you take a Friday off or a half day or, you know, however many days you need to go, make sure your kid is, you know, your kid is okay.


Alexa

And that's, again, small, small business. I do think you may be right. And we are foreshadowing about to come out with a four day work week episode, which I think will also be an interesting conversation in sort of comparison to this. But I think it's got to be like it's only successful if it's implemented right, as with all things.


Alexa

And if the whole idea is like, oh, we're going to do unlimited PTO and then just kind of like quietly not mention it and not set an example for how to use it well or set a minimum expectation, then it's going to be what's the situation like you're talking about where it's like, 90% of people don't use all the PTO or use enough PTO Right, right.


Alexa

And so you.


Tyson

Have those other people that are trying to use more, like you said, like take it. Yeah.


Alexa

Absolutely. Have had people take advantage of me for our PTO.


Tyson

Yeah, that's my fault. I actually see that happening less in like my space. Like I see that happening less. But what I will get sometimes is someone's like, Oh, I want to take like just a little bit more. And then it becomes like a like so an example is like if they're maybe they want to take time off for mental health reasons and they want to take like a three week vacation.


Tyson

Three it's no like a like three weeks off. Like their doctor is like, okay, you need to take like time off or they want to take three, four or five weeks off. And that's where it becomes like, okay, yeah, our PTO is unlimited. But now you've taken more than five consecutive days off and you have to go in some sort of short term disability.


Tyson

So that's exactly another thing. It's like, it's not like it's like there are so many things you where like, where's.


Alexa

The line between unlimited PTO sabbatical and short term leave work?


Tyson

Well, exactly.


Alexa

How do we draw this line consistently and what triggers it?


Tyson

And yeah.


Alexa

Yeah, it gets to be a bit of a shit show, but does I really hope you can hear the sounds of Mexico City behind me right now. Can you hear that?


Tyson

I can hear it.


Alexa

Yeah. Oh, okay. I just I actually don't want to cut this out I want to explain this to everyone because it's amazing. So this noise that you hear is this woman basically asking for scrap metal. She's asking for your TVs and your refrigerators and, and all day throughout the city these trucks wander around and play this exact same woman asking for your scrap metal.


Alexa

And it's like the kind of thing that just gets stuck in your head when you've been here long enough. And there's like a YouTube remix that you can listen to of this woman asking for scrap metal. It's awesome. It's just like one of these very classic, like, Mexico City sounds that everyone's says. Yeah, the scrap metal lady. I'm like, this lady.


Alexa

This lady and her voice are everywhere in this city asking for scrap metal. It's pretty funny, but I knew she'd come around while we were recording. So Little Taste of Mexico for you.


Tyson

That's awesome. Actually, speaking of Mexico, why is like, everybody wanting to move there now? It's like a whole thing.


Alexa

Cool. It's cheap.


Tyson

Hmm. Okay. I've been.


Alexa

I highly recommend it. Yeah, it's awesome. It's a I think it's Mexico City, super urban. It's a very cool city. It's it's super urban, but it's very green. You know, Spanish is an easy language. It's a it's an affordable country comparatively to a lot of, like, big cities in the US. Yeah, it's a cool spot. I highly recommend using crypto to come here and check it out.


Alexa