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Time Off for the Holidays?

‘Tis the holiday season, and several of your key staff members want to take the same week off during the holidays. All have earned enough vacation time to do so. You have projects in various stages of completion, and you can’t afford to have everyone take off at the same time. How do you decide who gets to take vacation and who does not?

Our policy is very clear. First come, first served, and not more than one person per department allowed vacation at the same time. Employees are encouraged to take vacations throughout the year and not wait until the end of the year and take chance on losing the vacation days.

—Vic Verma, President, Alpha Insulation & Waterproofing, Marietta, GA

Communication is key here. In these challenging times your staff needs to know that when there’s work to be done, the company needs to perform at its highest level. Negotiating time off at a more suitable time can also work if all involved are willing to be flexible. You may offer an employee some additional paid time off if they’re willing to change their vacation plans and reschedule them for a more suitable time.

—Paul Talsma, President, TDI, Grand Rapids, MI



Someone who can fill in for that individual must be present during that time.


The best solution would be to give everyone the time off they deserve, but when projects need to be taken care of, it works to talk with your workers. In the past we have given extra days off later to people willing to work during the busy holiday season.

Wayne Dickinson, Dickinson Drywall, West Bridgewater, MA

Who ever posted their vacation dates first [gets to take the time].


Seniority should get the priority.


Coin flip is ALWAYS fair.

—Robert Lasorsa, Vice President, Beta Construction, Coconut Creek, FL

We would do so on a first-come, first-served basis.

—Frederick W. Willich, President, Hi-Tech Interiors, Inc., Manhattan, KS

Implement a date that all holiday time off must be submitted by in order to be eligible for a drawing of who will actually receive the time off.

—Brian Allen, President, Precision Walls, Inc., Raleigh, NC

Tell them to have a great time. And cover for them.


This is a tough one. Some companies will give it first to the most Senior Staff, but this could repeat itself year after year. Other companies might have a rotational schedule, which is more fair. But my personal feeling is let them all take it off. I mean, Come On! What GC really works during the holidays? It is a given, just like the Opening Day of deer season. Every company has the same problem. So let them have it off.


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