Dear Jido – September 2022

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Dear Jido,

I take off work for all the Jewish holidays. My manager has told me I can take them using personal time. This means it’s paid time off without cutting into my vacation time. There isn’t an official company policy on days off for religious reasons. 

One of my colleagues is a goy. He asked his manager about taking off for one of his holidays and was told to use his vacation time. I want to stand up for him and make sure he gets to take his holidays off using personal time, just like me. How can I do that with the least risk of losing my own sweet deal? 

Signed, 

Time Off

Dear Time Off,

When I had my own company here in New York not such a long time ago, we had a PTO policy (Personal Time Off) that gave each employee a total allowance of how many days a year they could take off for personal time, vacation time, and non-company-paid holidays. This didn’t include sick days (or Covid leave, which didn’t exist back then) since that was mandated by the State. 

If you took time off, it went against your total days. 

We had another “unofficial” policy. If you left early on Fridays for Shabbat, you HAD to make up the time during the week either by staying late or taking shorter lunch breaks. 

Why?  We didn’t want the goyim to feel that Jews were getting preferential treatment. You didn’t work, you didn’t get paid. The last thing any company would ever want is an audit from the Department of Labor – it’s an automatic lose/lose. Employee complaints are taken very seriously by them nowadays. 

While you may have gotten a special privilege,  it’s important to know it may come back to harm the company. 

My philosophy is always to treat all employees equally and fairly. Even if you don’t like the policy, if it’s equally administered, it’s fair. 

Try approaching the boss from that standpoint. You might lose or everyone else might win. 

Jido