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  • Vacations?

    I get that being a cops demands a lot and have heard that there's not a lot of off times because of the schedules so I was wondering, how much vacation time do you get and how many vacation do you get in a year? This question is mainly being directed towards cops and detectives.

  • #2
    Two weeks is pretty standard for starting vacation time. It goes up incrementally from there based on the employer's policy or the union contract. I've never had a problem taking vacation when I want to. I also avoid trying to take vacation during peak activity times. As a member of the command staff I bend over backwards to make sure officers get the vacation days they ask for.

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    • #3
      When I retired I was getting 5 weeks and 3 days a year............and I made sure I took all my vacation

      As a rookie I received two weeks a year..............it bumped up at regular intervals until the end

      Depending on the agency .....you might have trouble getting the exact weeks you want or the exact days you want, ,but you will get vacation time

      EVEN as an administrator I didn't get Christmas week off until I had 22 yrs in due to seniority issues
      Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

      My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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      • #4
        Like so many other questions about pay, benefits, retirement, and other issues there simply is no one answer that is applicable to all of the thousands of agencies.

        When I started out (1972) with a mid-sized city police department the rule was 2 weeks of paid vacation annually (after the first year). Selection of vacation times was done by seniority, so junior officers might work several years before they could get the vacation slots they preferred. As I recall, vacation time increased to 3 weeks annually after 10 years of service.

        Mid-1970's, as part of a salary & benefit negotiation package, we agreed on an additional one week vacation per year, with selection of vacation times being done by reverse seniority (allowing the more junior members some flexibility in scheduling compared to the regular seniority-first rule). This was a compromise position in lieu of some salary disputes. Non-union department, but we had an active association negotiating on our behalf.

        Another issue that some may not consider is that while you might have a scheduled vacation there was no real guarantee that you would be fully released from duties. Court appearances on active prosecutions frequently interfered with vacation schedules, and it was up to the prosecuting attorneys and judges to decide whether or not to reschedule cases when an officer-witness was on vacation. Failure to appear for a court case was a serious disciplinary matter, in addition to the potential for a contempt of court citation (jail time or fines), so no way we could simply thumb our noses and walk away because we were on vacation. It was not at all unusual to spend 3 or 4 days of a two-week vacation going to court (and overtime was not authorized until the late-1970's, so it was just "part of the job" at that time).

        In addition to that, most of the cops (and firefighters) of the era were making relatively small salaries, and many of us held second jobs or operated side businesses in order to maintain a reasonable standard of living. Vacation times were frequently utilized as opportunities to pad the income side of the family budget ledger. Even those who weren't working side gigs just weren't making enough money to take "real vacations" so the time off was commonly used for catching up on household chores, maybe a day outing with the family or a fishing trip with buddies; certainly not cruises or Disneyland trips, etc.

        The final 6-1/2 years of my career were spent as a small town chief. My guys always got their vacations, but usually because I was pulling their shifts (in addition to my regular duties). I never had a vacation, and seldom had more than 2 or 3 days per month without being called out.

        There is no standard that applies, now or in the past.

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        • #5
          We get a choice between having sick leave and vacation, or annual leave, which can be used for both. How much you get depends on which plan you are on and how long you have been on the job. In addition, we are expected to work holidays, so we are given an additional 13 or 14 paid days off, I don't remember which) per year. When I retired, I was at max seniority and between leave credits and holidays, I was receiving 43 paid days (2 months) off per year. We were not supposed to accumulate more that 840 hours of leave credit, but everyone wound up going way over and folks retiring often cashed out almost a year's worth of paid time off.
          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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          • #6
            Vacation, comp and sick time are negotiated by individual agencies.

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            • #7
              I take all my OT as comp time, and as an SRO by contract with the district I can only take vacation during school holidays.... so I get two weeks at Christmas/ New Years and can probably take whatever time I want during the summer since they don’t have to back fill me.

              we get 4 weeks to start plus 8 holiday days but it’s combined sick time and vacation. Essentially if you’re sick you have to spend PTO/ comp.

              i started with the department in February, just had to take two and half weeks sick, and still have 96 hours in the bank... which tells you how much OT I work.
              Last edited by tanksoldier; 10-06-2019, 09:57 PM.
              "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

              "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

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              • #8
                Two weeks is about the standard down my way. But I did work for department that gave us 120 hours every year. If you didn't take all of it by December 31st you lost it. You rolled over any sick time you earned. Investigators didn't get as much vacation time.

                My last department you earned vacation hours every pay period which came out to about 2 weeks a year.

                My current department does it a little different and a I'll leave it at that.

                Usually if you don't take vacation time during the first year you'll about always have vacation time on the books. After that first year I usually take about 40 hours a year and still have time to take off when I want. This year I took a week and a half off and could still take another week and a half off. They only let me roll over 40 yours where I work now.


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                • #9
                  We started at two weeks v-time after a year of service. Every five years, a week was added, capping at five weeks when you hit 15 years. There was no limit to how much time you kept on the books, and at retirement you got paid for unused v-time.

                  Vacation was granted on a first-come, first-served basis: seniority only came into play for simultaneous requests. Most shifts could only have two people off at once. We could put in for vacation months in advance, or the day before. If staffing allowed, the request was granted. Near the end of my career, they started to require a lieutenant’s permission to take more than three weeks off.

                  When I retired, I was already out on sick leave for a non-work-related elbow surgery. Since it was very slow rehab and my official retirement date was before the doctor would have cleared me to return to unrestricted duty, I used up all of my sick and vacation time. That way we didn’t take the income tax hit that would have come with a 400 hour payout check, and since I was still employed I was building time in PERS. Burning all that sick and vacation time bumped my pension by about $250 a month.

                  I heard that really harelipped the sheriff and the patrol chief deputy, especially when someone else did the same thing. It’s good to leave a legacy.

                  Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                  I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ateamer View Post
                    We started at two weeks v-time after a year of service. Every five years, a week was added, capping at five weeks when you hit 15 years. There was no limit to how much time you kept on the books, and at retirement you got paid for unused v-time.

                    Vacation was granted on a first-come, first-served basis: seniority only came into play for simultaneous requests. Most shifts could only have two people off at once. We could put in for vacation months in advance, or the day before. If staffing allowed, the request was granted. Near the end of my career, they started to require a lieutenant’s permission to take more than three weeks off.

                    When I retired, I was already out on sick leave for a non-work-related elbow surgery. Since it was very slow rehab and my official retirement date was before the doctor would have cleared me to return to unrestricted duty, I used up all of my sick and vacation time. That way we didn’t take the income tax hit that would have come with a 400 hour payout check, and since I was still employed I was building time in PERS. Burning all that sick and vacation time bumped my pension by about $250 a month.

                    I heard that really harelipped the sheriff and the patrol chief deputy, especially when someone else did the same thing. It’s good to leave a legacy.
                    I burnt 2 months of vacation prior to retirement.......Left before the snow fell that year..........& banked all of my sick leave to fund insurance payments for 18 months. (Iowa IPERS retirement does not include insurance)

                    I didn't want the tax hit NOR did I want to work another snow storm
                    Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                    My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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                    • #11
                      I receive all the time off that I want, and our administration is flexible about making sure we are able to use that time when we want to. I am just wrapping up a three week vacation. Like Tanksoldier, I take all my OT as banked hours, so that is in addition to my vacation, holiday, and sick time. I am not shy about using my time, and I always have a positive balance going into the next year.
                      "Respect is earned. Honesty is appreciated. Trust is gained. Loyalty is returned."

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                      • #12
                        If you're careful with how you schedule it, you can really make it stretch. I get 10 days a year I think; if I use those on a Wednesday and Thursday right before a 3-day weekend; that gives me three one-week vacations, plus an extra day off. We are on the 2-on, 2-off, 3-day weekend schedule, 12 hour shifts. We basically use our holidays as comp time also. Small agency and as long as there's at least one officer on duty (which could be a supervisor) they're pretty flexible here.

                        If you're on a 40-hour schedule that may be a pain and you have to burn 40 hours of time just to get 9 days off in a row.

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                        • #13
                          I get 4 weeks, plus extra for working certain holidays. Vacation is part of the overall benefits you should look at when considering applying to a department.

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