Time OffStaff vacation time is both good and bad! Good because they deserve it, (actually they are entitled to it) and it is of course also healthy, both physically and mentally for them to take time off.

It’s bad though for the small business owner, because it always seems to happen at an inconvenient time. Few small businesses have enough resources to temporarily replace the vacationing employee, or have too small a staff to have someone else cover for them. So it often leaves a gap and the work simply has to wait for the employee to return from holiday.

Provincial legislation lays out the entitlement of vacation time in great detail. Full time employees receive a certain amount of paid days per year or alternatively 4% of the gross salary gets accrued and will have to be paid out when the employee leaves or paid out when the employee takes time off.

However, you do have some control over when the vacation happens and how many days in one stretch. I don’t want to overload you with too much detail today, the Employment Standards Act of Ontario outlines all the detail you need.

Let me tell you how we, at Black Tulip, deal with it. Our offer letter when we hire someone new, includes the following description: Paid Time Off: 10 vacation days (Supervisor’s prior written approval required) and 6 Sick/Personal days per calendar year. Vacation days are prorated and are earned after working 6 months.


In practice, somewhere in the early spring, I ask our managers to let me know first when they want to book their holiday time. With the more junior staff we make sure there is minimal overlap, so we always have someone available who can cover. Some of our staff prefer to take off a day or a few days at the time, others will book their entire allotment all at once.

With sick/personal days, six per calendar year, they can be used a half day at the time, like for doctor’s appointments. After the six days are used up, we reduce their pay for any additional days taken off. Some flexibility is required by the business owner, because stuff happens and life sometimes interferes and you don’t want to lose a good employee by being too strict.

So, when was the last time you took a holiday? I have found that it is a real challenge for me to take a holiday. Timing, volume of work, staff changes, too many things that require my personal attention, all make me hesitate to take time off. However, the amount of stress and ridiculous hours I tend to work, means that I really need regular time off in order to run our business properly.

So I have booked a cruise with Georges’ help and even though it is not until the middle of October, I have already started planning my time away to ensure I will be covered.

Unfortunately, with today’s available technology, I will likely still be working while cruising through the Mediterranean.

If anyone would like to know more details about how we deal with staff vacation, let’s set up a BBI and I would be happy to share.

Thank you!

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