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You wrote, Actually, some Federal employees will lose vacation days becaue of the furlough and the rules regarding the maximum number of days of vacation that can be held over from one year to the next. There are provisions to help some employees out, but not everyone will be able to take advantage of it. You can carry over use-or-lose leave because of the furlough -- but you can't carry it over for two years. I have at least one and probably several colleagues who are in that situation.

I don't see how that works. (i.e.: Doesn't vacation.) You're still in October - ten weeks from year-end - and there will be people that can't take enough vacation to avoid loosing some? How much vacation do you guys accumulate in a year?

The most I've ever received is 5 weeks. That employer had an industry-experience-based vacation policy; but the maximum vacation you could earn was 6 weeks / year. Most employers have given me 2 or 3 weeks. The worst have given 2 weeks of PTO only - no separate sick leave - and had a use-it-or-lose-it policy. (They did allow you to take all of your vacation in advance of accrual. Other than that their leave policy was pretty bad ... though the company had excellent insurance coverage.)

My current employer (a Fortune 500) includes 3 weeks of paid vacation and 2 weeks of paid sick leave. It is possible to earn more; but I don't think even the most senior earn more than 6 weeks of vacation. They also have a year-end, use-it-or-lose-it policy. Lots of people here just disappear around the beginning to middle of December.

Even with the worst policy I've seen, the maximum loss is only ONE YEAR's worth of vacation accumulation. There are 10 weeks remaining this year. What position in the Federal government earns more than 10 weeks of vacation time? And why would the public sympathize with them?

Finally, That said, being a Federal employee is indeed a good thing. Federal contractors, particularly those who work for themselves rather than a company, got a really raw deal. My ex, who is a contractor, had almost no income during the furlough and won't be able to recoupe any of it.

I can sympathize with your ex. I've been a (non-government) contractor. I've also been near the end of a contract and had weeks where I could only report partial days because they were running out of work for me to do. Not exactly a furlough ... but it was a good hint to update my resume and start looking again.

- Joel
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