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Old 06-24-2019, 07:54 AM
jimdigritz is offline
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Out of the blue vacation/annual leave increase - acquisition signal?? (May be UK specific)


So I've worked for my UK employer (a private LTD company) for just over 2 1/2 years and out of the blue I get a formal notification from HR that my Annual Leave (Vacation) allowance is being increased by a day.

The change needs to be digitally signed and accepted by me, which is odd. I ignored it for 24 hours and now my line manager is reminding me of the 'good news' and prompting me to sign it.

There are some very unsubstantiated rumours internally that a merger/acquisition/PE investment/listing might be on the cards....

My spidey sense says that this is not normal business as usual. In my 20+ years in work I've never had an unexpected increase in holiday allowance.

Does anyone with experience of mergers/TUPE/corporate actions or HR have any thoughts on this?

Should I expect some important news soon (and more importantly should I dust of my resume in anticipation!!)

Thanks!

Jim
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Old 06-24-2019, 08:04 AM
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For some reason I found myself smiling at this post. It's funny that when something seemingly good happens....there usually is more to it. Why that's funny to me, I don't know. But congratulations on the crispy new vacation day.
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Old 06-24-2019, 08:10 AM
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...Also, probably more than whats good for me I find myself thinking about the guy who worked for the EPA and didn't show up for work for around 2 decades. It's a lovely thought for a Monday. His name was John Beale. https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-ep...dollar-con-man. We all should aspire to something.
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Old 06-24-2019, 08:33 AM
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What are they asking you to sign? Just an agreement about the extra day? or a whole new contract? If the latter, check if anything else has changed from your current terms and conditions. It would be a sneaky move to change someones contract in a significant way by hiding it as an improvement. But this is HR!
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Old 06-24-2019, 09:04 AM
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At every place where I've worked (admittedly, not in the UK), when I've gotten more vacation time, it's been in one-week chunks, not by a single day.

Getting just one additional vacation day, plus the apparent pressure to sign the agreement immediately, does strike me as weird. Like JacobSwan noted, read that agreement closely, to see if they're hiding something else in there.
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Old 06-24-2019, 09:52 AM
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Old 06-24-2019, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
At every place where I've worked (admittedly, not in the UK), when I've gotten more vacation time, it's been in one-week chunks, not by a single day.
^This.^ The company I used to work for was a close-held corporation owned 51% by a regional bank and 49% by another financial company. In 2008 the regional bank went bust and was taken over by a very large bank. March 2009 was my fifth employment anniversary and my vacation days went from two weeks to three in accordance with the old bank's policies. In April the VLB aligned some* of the employees' benefits to its policies and I had four weeks to play with.

Of course, another policy was the pay scale was a bit less. Nobody took a pay hit but new hires were paid less and it was a long time before the current employees got a pay raise. I suspect the recession had something to do with it.

*But not all. It was not until 2012 that we were completely drawn into VLB's clutches, as we old employees put it.
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Old 06-24-2019, 10:51 AM
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Also working in the UK, the reasons I've had for an increase in annual leave have been

1. Long service bonus - here, you get an extra day per year once you've worked here 5 years
2. An improvement in the holiday benefit across the company, as a reworking of company benefits by the HR team. This sometimes happens if the company feels their benefits package isn't as good as some of their competitors and they need to up their game.
3. A readjustment if the company is not complying with holiday legislation.

It would be useful to know your current allowance to see if it could be 2 or 3, but I'm guessing it's number 2 - but I'd agree with others to check your contract to see if they've tweaked anything else.

I can't see why they'd do it in advance of a merger/acquisition - what would be the point? I could understand afterwards, in order to align benefits across the new company.

Last edited by SanVito; 06-24-2019 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 06-24-2019, 11:00 AM
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I'd agree with others to check your contract to see if they've tweaked anything else.
This is what my spidey sense warns about. The last time I got something given to me "out of the blue" by a company, it came with a non-compete agreement that I was supposed to sign. By labour laws, if they just made me sign it without giving me anything in return other than "keep your job", it was unenforceable, but adding a small token "consideration" in exchange it became so (or would have if I had accepted it).
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Old 06-24-2019, 11:11 AM
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I would send a message to your HR rep and ask them directly if this change is the only change to the wording or the terms and conditions of your contract. Keep a copy of your question and their response, plus a copy of old and new contracts.

They can't directly lie to you without leaving themselves open to challenges on various breaches of employment law and I'd take any evasive or ambiguous answer as a red light and a prompt to go over it all word-by word and seek further clarification.

My guess is that this is change to a policy that is more in line with market norms but that may include subtle, minor changes that could have implications down the road.
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Old 06-24-2019, 12:01 PM
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How many days was it before the extra one?
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Old 06-24-2019, 08:14 PM
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Have any of your colleagues received a similar notification? Now? In the past?
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Old 06-24-2019, 08:53 PM
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If you were in the U.S., I'd guess that some pencil pusher somewhere discovered you were due a day's pay for something. Maybe vacation days charged to your account but never used, maybe some unpaid overtime, maybe sick days mistakenly charged as vacation, who knows. Rather than going through all the paperwork to correct the mistake, they decided to "give you" an extra vacation day to balance the books on their end.

Did your notice promise you the extra day was now and forevermore, or did you just interpret it that way?

Since you aren't in the U.S., I have no idea what laws or customs your employer follows.

And it's never a bad idea to update your resume.
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Old 06-24-2019, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by SanVito View Post
I can't see why they'd do it in advance of a merger/acquisition - what would be the point? I could understand afterwards, in order to align benefits across the new company.
Well, earned but unused vacation days are a liability on the company books. Thereby depressing the net worth of the company.

If every employee got an extra day, it could amount to a sizable mount, and might be somehow relevant in determining the price of the merger/acquisition.
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Old 06-25-2019, 02:50 AM
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If I got something like that, I'd figure it was either a simple change in policy or that they hadn't been in compliance with some regulation.

The last thing I'd think of would be that it was associated with an acquisition.
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Old 06-25-2019, 03:43 AM
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a simple change in policy...
The last thing I'd think of would be that it was associated with an acquisition.
Or , as mentioned above, it could be a complex change in policy.
A very sneaky way to get you to sign on an agreement that voids your previous conditions of employment. So when the new acqusition takes place next week, you have no protections.
  #17  
Old 06-26-2019, 03:08 AM
SanVito is offline
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Originally Posted by chappachula View Post
Or , as mentioned above, it could be a complex change in policy.
A very sneaky way to get you to sign on an agreement that voids your previous conditions of employment. So when the new acqusition takes place next week, you have no protections.
Employees have protections under UK law even if they don't have a written contract. They can't issue new contracts and start firing people.

Last edited by SanVito; 06-26-2019 at 03:09 AM.
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