Is a paid trip a vacation if you have to work?

NINE TO FIVE, Special to The Globe and Mail – Published Sunday, Oct. 26 2014


My friend works at a travel agency. Part of her job is to accompany about 25 clients on an annual cruise.

She is responsible for ensuring the clients, many of whom are elderly, have the correct documentation, get to the airport on time, assist with any issues relative to boarding, and so on. She is also responsible for any problems that arise during the cruise, including health-related issues.


This scenario is a perfect example of why it is important to know all the ramifications of a job, from day one.

When you go about your daily routine and tasks in a regular work environment that is one thing. When you are working ‘off-site’ you need to know if the same conditions to your employment apply.

Everybody wants to feel like they are respected, appreciated and compensated fairly for the time, effort and expertise they put into their job.

When you are dictated as to where you will spend your vacation time and told ‘by the way, you must work part or all of the day as needed as well,’ that is not the definition of a vacation.

You may want to seek legal counsel on this matter or any other requests from your employer that seem untenable and out of the norm.

Getting yourself to any long haul destination and back is a nightmare, let alone managing a group of strangers and all their peculiarities. A reality check is required by the management toward their employees.

Your friend needs to do some research with other agents at different agencies to see what the standard is in the industry.

Colleen Clarke, Corporate trainer and career specialist, Toronto

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