# How much are vacation days worth to you?

Suppose you currently get 15 days paid vacation per year in addition to the standard 10 (US) holidays. You are evaluating 2 potential jobs, both have the standard 10 holidays, but Job A has 5 days vacation and pays more, Job B has 25 days and pays less. How do you assign a dollar value to the days in order to determine which option is best?

This is going to be incredibly subjective. At this point in my life downtime is very valuable so for me I would say that an extra 20 days of vacation a year would probably be worth a 20% salary difference.

Here in California, I can keep all of my days and later cash them out. That lets me put a specific number on the value of a given day. Take a paycheck, divide it by the average number of working days in an average month (~20), and that is the value of the day that the company owes you.

Next - with those 25 days, how many people actually take them? A company with a culture of taking good vacations is worth \$5k per year to me. An extra 10 days a year is worth another \$5-10k to me personally (I like to take long hiking and kayaking trips).

My job gives me 26 vacation days + 8 holidays a year. I also opt for purchasing an additional 6 days off (salary/working days in the year) which is deducted from my paycheck. If I don’t use those, which I usually do, I can cash them in in December.

So yes, I have a ton of time off and I still want more.

I have 20 vacation days, 9 bank holidays, 3 personal days, something like 8 or 10 sick days, and a general license to be a little flexible with when I’m actually at work if I have a good enough reason.

I have a very hard time taking all of those days off - in the average year I use no more than one or two sick days, and I’m taking four day weeks from October through December to get down underneath the threshhold of how many vacation days I’m allowed to carry over. At this point in my life I’d gladly trade 10 vacation days for more cash at a very reasonable rate. I don’t know if I could go down to just 5, though… well, I could if I kept my sick days and was a little bit more liberal with “mental health” than I am comfortable being.

I’d take the job with more vacation. A company that is willing to give a decent amount of vacation time probably expects their employees to use it. I’m not going to lie on my deathbed and say I wish I spent more time at the office.

I travel at least 3 months out of the year so holiday days are very important to me. I own my own company and we take the business with us (which means I am sometimes answering support requests form atop a sand dune in Sudan).

For me it’s more of a threshold than an absolute value tradeoff. I’d be VERY reluctant to take a job with less than three weeks of vacation unless I had to, but I don’t really care much about having too much more than that, as it gives me room for a week off at Christmas and two weeks of vacation to take otherwise.

I probably wouldn’t take job A at all, unless the pay was obscene. 5 days is ridiculous.
If job B were only a slight pay decrease (under 10%), I might consider it.

Here’s what I’d do … in Job A, ask if you can take additional days off without pay. Suppose you really want to have 15 days vacation, so that’s another 10 days off. Then figure out how much pay you’ll lose for taking those extra 10 days off. Compare it to the extra pay that Job A has over Job B. Then make your decision accordingly. Easy peasy.

I’d go with the job with more vacation, no question.

Furious–of course, it’s all about what is more important to YOU. And, I don’t believe you offered an opinion on that.

Having said that, I also endorse the more time off option. Unless you really really need the money.

I get 10 days paid vaction per year. NO paid holidays. I HAVE to work all US holidays except Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s DAY. And I don’t get paid. It wouldn’t be a hard choice to make for me.

For me, that’s the key. I’ve never worked a job (even when I was first starting out) that gave fewer than 10 days a year. (Currently, I get something like 23 days, plus holidays, but those “Paid Time Off” days include sick days, of which I take 1-2 a year).

I can’t conceive of a job that would offer only 5 vacation days a year. I don’t generally take big, long vacations, but I do like to take 2-3 days off at a time, as well as the occasional 3-day weekend.

I would take the job that pays more.

A vacation day won’t count toward overtime, so you count it as worth one days pay.

Say one job pays \$18/hr with 5 days vacation. The other job pays \$15/hr with ten days off.

Let’s forget about sick and holidays for the sake of convenience.

First job is 18 X 40 X 52 = \$37,440/year

Secon job is 15 X 40 X 52 = \$31,200/year

Now the first job you don’t have to work 5 days but get paid 18 X 8 X 5 = \$720

Second job you don’t have to work 10 days but get paid 15 X 8 X 10 = \$1,200

Here’s the thing, most jobs will let you take upaid leave off in slow times. If you went to your boss and said, “I need five days off, for a personal emergency, I’ll take them without pay.” Most companies would be happy to NOT pay you for five days.

So even if you lost five days pay your salary at the first job would be \$37,440 - \$720 or \$36,720. So you’d still be making more, and you’d get ten days off.

You need to do the figuring. It’s not that hard to get unpaid time off. You have to do the math.

In my industry hotels, five days a year is standard and you can’t even take the five days till AFTER you’ve been with the company a whole year. But usually in hotels you get sent home early or days cut so you get a lot of unpaid time off

Considering Mark’s reasoning is common sense, I really, really can’t understand you guys who would completely eliminate Job A. I should probably become a salesman and sell things at really high prices and include a lot of freebies that I included in the price… I’d make a killing in this thread alone.

Well, in my country, Job A would be illegal, so I wouldn’t take it because who know what other dodgy business practices the have.

But to directly answer your question - I’d say 10 days more of vacation is worth at least a \$30 000 differential to me. As in - if the pay difference between a 20 day and a 30 day vacation job was less than that, I’d take the latter job and the money could go hang. Assuming a living wage for the 30 day vacation job, of course. So for me, it’s \$3 000 per day, I guess.

More vacation time, no question. Time off is very important to me and just the thought of having an entire year with only five days off is almost painful for me. It’s one thing if I have some intense passion for the work but I don’t really have that so I’m left to pursue my interests in my off-time. So for me, the more the better.

I currently have 15 days, 1 floating holiday, and a pitiful 6 paid holidays per year. Luckily my department is pretty lax because who the hell wants to be finishing up work at the office at 5 pm on New Years Eve?

In the places I’ve worked, there really is no downtime and the perceived opinion among the employees is that unpaid leave is looked down upon unless it’s due to health or family reasons. It implies a lack of seriousness about your job - like “yeah, I only get five days off a year, but I’m gonna take 10 anyway and if you don’t like just don’t pay me”. Maybe in some industries it’s considered the norm but any of the offices I’ve worked in, I can count on one hand the number of people who felt comfortable enough to take unpaid leave for leisure purposes. And usually, those people are newer employees who had the vacation booked before they knew they’d have a new job and hadn’t accrued any time off yet.

At this stage in my career, I earn about six weeks of leave per year.

I can’t use it all. I have accumulated the maximum that I am allowed, and, if I don’t use it, I lose any additional accumulation. I am at the point that I don’t take sick leave, I take annual leave. My sick leave can accumulate up to any amount (I think I have about 2500 hours), so it makes sense to do it that way.

I’d be delighted to cash in some of my annual leave and just use the two weeks or so I actually use in a year, but that’s not an option.

This must vary with the industry, because I’ve never had a job that was willing to give me time off without pay beyond whatever vacation I had. I had one job that I even negotiated a week off without pay every year as part of the interview process, and when I tried to take it, they were quick to express their disdain.

As far as the OP, I’d take vacation > pay every time, assuming the pay wasn’t so low that it was ridiculous. And I’d never ever ever take a job with only 5 days of vacation a year.