Vacation policies abroad: what your assignee needs to know before they take a summer vacation.

May 4, 2016 / by Lindsay Mullen


Similar to your assignee’s favorite brunch order at their local restaurant, vacationing abroad is best served sunny-side up. And regardless of how the weather is behaving in your neck of the woods (we’re still bundled up here in Michigan!), the summer sun is fast-approaching.

While assignees in the southern hemisphere are getting cozy for winter, those up north are just starting to make plans for the summer travel season. However, these sunny holidays may come with quite a few stipulations your assignee may not be familiar with stateside. Here’s what your assignee needs to know before they take a summer vacation abroad.

They get how many days?

First things first, is your assignee following the international standard of vacation days or domestic? Many European companies are required to provide four weeks of paid vacation by law. However, if the summer months are your busiest time, this holiday break may not be such a pocketful of sunshine. While you of course want to your employees to eat as many Spanish patatas bravas (spicy potatoes) as they desire and pursue their dream of parachutisme (skydiving) in Geneva, it may not be realistic for them to take a full month off of work abroad.

Instead of becoming the Grinch that Stole Summer, establish exactly how many days your assignee will be allotted abroad and whether their contract has any stipulations that may prevent them from taking certain trips. This will help give your assignees realistic expectations and get that summer sun without getting burnt in the end. You’ll thank us later.

Hola, I do not understand what you’re saying.

While your assignees may have familiarized themselves with their local languages, vacationing is una historia completamente diferente (or a totally different story in Spanish). Likely, your assignees will want to venture into new cultures and have experiences foreign to those they see day-to-day. Instead of sending them off with a travel map and some flag emojis for good measure, provide them with some resources that will help them get around when they travel.

Advise your assignees to confirm their passports and visa expiration dates prior to travel, as some countries require that passports remain valid 6 months after entry into a new country. Learning a few local phrases will also be key to safe travel abroad. Luckily there are many options (us) that will allow your assignee to get up to speed on a variety of new languages as easy as moja, mbili, tatu (or one, two, three in Swahili). Encourage your assignees to switch over their Mango app to a new language and learn some basics before traveling to a new country. Not only will learning some new words help assignees get around, it’s also a great way to learn more about another culture before ever stepping off the plane.

Accruing (or not accruing long holidays).

While school may be out for summer, it most certainly is not out forever. Many companies offer assignees the ability to take long holidays in the summer in order to maximize their time with loved ones stateside. However, what assignees may not realize is that they may not receive their full salary on these longer vacations, which can cause more than a few headaches for them down the line.

Advise assignees to learn how their vacation days are calculated and whether they’re accrued or unaccrued. While accrued days award your assignees for the time they put in abroad (i.e. every month is equal to one day off), an unaccrued vacation system will allow assignees to know exactly how much time they have upfront, without taking hours worked into consideration. By making sure they know which type of vacation time they have, assignees will have the peace of mind they need to enjoy that long holiday home (and even chow down on some family cooking while they’re at it).

Laying out your vacation policies prior to summer vacations is important to make sure your assignees are soaking up that summer sun and ensures a slight sunburn is the only unwelcome surprise they encounter. Take a look at the HR Manager’s Toolkit for more tips on preparing your assignees to take on the world.

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Topics: Corporate

Lindsay Mullen

Written by Lindsay Mullen

Lindsay Mullen is CEO of Prosper Strategies, working behind the scenes to support the Mango team's world of lovable language learning. A language aficionado herself, Lindsay oversees a team of marketers fluent in public relations, content development and strategy (and they speak some German, French, Spanish and Chinese as well.)

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