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Thread: Voluntary, partially paid leave of absence

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    Default Voluntary, partially paid leave of absence

    Be forewarned: This thread is not going to include any of the seemingly now-requisite rage about society and/or politicians.

    My employer is offering, on a seniority basis, some pretty generous packages to employees in my group with the opportunity to take leaves of absence for periods of time from six months to up to five years. There is a minimum amount of pay that is on the table for this period of time and the worker cannot return early unless the company recalls the worker early for operational requirements. Most benefits of active employment (insurance being the biggest) remain intact and seniority and longevity continue to accrue. In other words, they can't hire off the street ahead of workers taking the leave.

    I am 53 and am seriously considering taking a multi-year leave of absence, knowing that it's not impossible I never return though that would be the plan.

    It seems to be a great opportunity to pursue interests or other life goals with some level of certainty that a job is waiting for me on the other side. Of course, in life there are never guarantees but my employer is in the best shape financially of their peers and at least for now I don't see trouble on the horizon. Of course, these measures are being taken by the company to stem the cash bleed they are currently experiencing. These LOAs are an effort to avoid involuntary layoffs, something my employer is proud to have never had to do in their history.

    The people with whom I've shared this have all asked me, "So what would you do for five years?" The answer of course, is, "Hide out in the Alps and ride my bike in the summer and ski all winter". But these are things that need supplementing with other more productive activities.

    If you were presented with an opportunity for a partially paid, multi-year LOA how would you occupy the time? The pay is enough to cover my living expenses so there would be no absolute need for finding other work, at least not immediately.

    More school? Serious volunteering? Another career opportunity? Or just hitting a reset button because I've been working at the redline since 1996 until Covid-19? This is the longest period of relative quiet in my career in 24 years and I'm kind of liking it.

    If you were offered a gift of time (because that's what I see here - Time), would you take it? How would you use it? I already know my answer to the first part. I'm just crowdsourcing ideas for the second part.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: Voluntary, partially paid leave of absence

    Start a business and yes by all means take full advantage of all your friends located in far reaches of the world to ride bikes and eff' off.

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    Default Re: Voluntary, partially paid leave of absence

    I believe you are not married, no kids?

    if i were in that scenario, i would take that offer without a half second of hesitation.

    i'd put all my worldly possessions that i cared about in a storage unit, rent out my house and live the life of a travelling nomad. that is slightly more complicated in the times of covid, but workable.

    what a perfect time of year in the US too. i think i would start by buying a small, inexpensive used RV and heading out west with my camping, hiking and cycling gear and just make up the script as i go. start in socal and migrate north to washington into canada as the weather warms. once the weather starts to turn, sell the RV and head out to New Zealand and do that motorcycle tour i've been dreaming of. plenty of seat time to figure out where to go next.

    my bet is, if lived smartly and with your primary residence rented out, this could all be done inexpensively enough to continue living the dream forever into the sunset.

    man, to be in your shoes.

    do it Jim! i'm ultra envious of the possibilities.

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    Default Re: Voluntary, partially paid leave of absence

    Quote Originally Posted by Saab2000 View Post

    If you were offered a gift of time (because that's what I see here - Time), would you take it?
    Yes!

    How would you use it?
    Exploring the world a bit more, spend more times on artistic (music and plastic arts) I left unattended for a while. And ride my bike.

    Volunteering ? Why not but I have bad experiences with that. Not about the volunteering part itself but if you offer one hand people will grab your whole arm and all your life might be consumed by it unless you have the will power to say no (and I tend to have issues with that and finding where the limit is when it comes to helping others).
    --
    T h o m a s

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    Default Re: Voluntary, partially paid leave of absence

    OMG what a dream.
    Tim Campen

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    Default Re: Voluntary, partially paid leave of absence

    I believe the overall consensus will be a resounding yes regarding the offer of time. But the how you spend that time shouldn't be locked into a finite answer. Like life, moderation would be the key. I'd want to moderate it into several different interests. Give yourself some flexibility and accomplish multiple wants. The important part is to make a list. If it were me, I'd start the time with some nagging chores. Get them out of the way, volunteer, then give myself a vacation. Rinse and repeat.

    During the onslaught of the Covid fiasco, I was out of the office for 6 weeks. The idea was to work from home but in reality no one was working. Our project was shut down. So, I spent the time doing exactly what I wanted to do and more importantly when I wanted to do it. It was probably the most productive 6 weeks of my life. Luckily, I was paid as if I was in the office. I was very fortunate to be able to spend that time as I did.

    Congrats on the opportunity!
    Rick Stubblefield

    If the process is more important than the result, you play. If the result is more important than the process, you work.

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    Default Re: Voluntary, partially paid leave of absence

    Yes! This is your life and time is finite. Simplify things to their simplest and that should hopefully make it easier to do whatever it is that resonates with you.

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    Default Re: Voluntary, partially paid leave of absence

    I'm a couple of years younger than you and I would grab that opportunity. As Angry said, I dream of something like that opportunity landing in my lap.

    Here's the thing: You don't have to figure it all out today. You take the generous offer. You spend a day, a week, a month after that deciding what you want to make of that time. And then you go do it.
    And if you want to change direction 6 months later, you do that too.
     

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    Default Re: Voluntary, partially paid leave of absence

    No SO and kids to worry about?...be the first in line...the healthcare benefits are the most important as you know. Just don’t be bummed when they call you back and you have to ditch the Fignon haircut, closet the Maui Jim shirts, cover up the tatts and plug the holes in your nose and earlobes. But by then, you’ll have ditched your cell phone and they’ll have trouble finding you in France.
    rw saunders
    everything is connected

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    Default Re: Voluntary, partially paid leave of absence

    I'm a bit older than you, but last year my company folded development in the states and offered a month of salary for each year worked as severance. I took the year to make photographs, camp, bike/run (somewhat hampered by an early season injury) and generally live a far more intentional life. I was planning to start doing a part time job this summer but the virus has put the brakes on that plan so I'm taking social security early and continuing the great adventure...
    Guy Washburn

    Photography > www.guywashburn.com

    There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
    --Douglas Adams

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    Default Re: Voluntary, partially paid leave of absence

    if you've got a large enough nest egg to not worry about funding your retirement then I think you should absolutely do this.

    I haven't taken an extended break but I got a short furlough in April. Not receiving my normal paycheck was not ideal but the opportunity to explore outside interests was incredible.
     

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    Default Re: Voluntary, partially paid leave of absence

    Absolutely!

    Maybe you want to get as far away from flying as possible, but spending some time as a bush pilot in Canada or Alaska sounds amazing to me.
     

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    Default Re: Voluntary, partially paid leave of absence

    Take it.

    Time is the most valuable of all assets.

    SPP
    My name is Peter Miller.

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    Default Re: Voluntary, partially paid leave of absence

    Given years of posting in VS you seem like a dude who has his poop together. If you can afford it and won't miss the job, take the offer and don't look back.

    Early 50s, we are same age, is a great time to take a pause and decide what to do next. You have enough life knowledge to make a good decision and enough time to still do a lot of fun stuff.

    Am guessing you'd be a heck of a corporate pilot or CFI.

    If you want specifics - outside of Park City Utah is a great spot. Year 'round fun. But now we are getting too detailed.

    Congrats on your upcoming retirement.

    Mark
     

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    Default Re: Voluntary, partially paid leave of absence

    On the one hand, I agree with those who say time is more important than anything/ you only live once/ etc. On the other, I hear my father's voice saying remember that a company only offers early buyouts if it is going to save them money...therefore logically they will be paying you less than they would if you don't take their offer.

    That said, what could happen if you/ others don't take the early buy outs? Would you be laid off with a worse financial package?

    What position is the union in to protect you?

    The most important is can you live on what the offer is for x years after what you think is the age you will live to? Without pencilling the numbers to "make" it work because that is what you want...do a cold hard no emotion look at the numbers. Essentially, really do the due diligence on Plan B for feeding your face and having a roof over your head.

    Yes, it is important to include that you would get another job/ reinvent yourself in another career/industry that you would like and that would give you money.

    But remember the economy is going to suck for years and financially those plans may be tough to come to fruition. On the other hand, many of the biggest ideas/ companies have been born in absolutely horrible economies.

    What happens to your healthcare? In the US, I have personally found that to be the biggest question because even when healthy the unexpected and making sure its paid for is frighteningly costly.

    I don't mean to be a naysayer...in fact, my brain and heart say go for it (and I walked from what I did at about your age)...just trying to channel my late Dad's advice to me because thinking about his worries helped me come to my decision and perhaps it will be helpful to you.
    Jon Mandel

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    Default Re: Voluntary, partially paid leave of absence

    One thing to consider...

    Let's say your salary is $100,000/year.

    Now consider the $ you will be paid during your leave of absence, for the sake of argument, call it $60,000.

    Stay home and not work at all, earn $60,000.

    Go to work, earn $100,000.

    Means if you keep working, you are basically willing to do your job for $40,000/year.

    Plus you have to go to work.

    SPP
    My name is Peter Miller.

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    Default Re: Voluntary, partially paid leave of absence

    Quote Originally Posted by htwoopup View Post
    On the one hand, I agree with those who say time is more important than anything/ you only live once/ etc. On the other, I hear my father's voice saying remember that a company only offers early buyouts if it is going to save them money...therefore logically they will be paying you less than they would if you don't take their offer.

    That said, what could happen if you/ others don't take the early buy outs? Would you be laid off with a worse financial package?

    What position is the union in to protect you?
    This is absolutely about the company wanting to save money. Lots of money. This COVID crisis in aviation is quite real, with business having dropped off a cliff since last year. It's rebounding slowly but the cash burn must be quelled, hence this offer. My company has never involuntarily laid off staff and I think they are trying to avoid it now. They have been quite inventive in creating new business opportunities during this time, particularly with freight on a passenger airline. I've never worked for a company in the past in the US that seemed to act in "good faith". My current employer seems to do that, much to me pleasant surprise.

    Yes, I would make less than if I don't take the voluntary, paid LOA. Though I can do other work during that time and since it's not a requirement to get insurance with that job or frankly, any other benefits, it wouldn't need to be a career type of job. It could be self-employment and one idea I have would be of great interest on here. That will remain secret though until and if it comes to fruition.

    If not enough people take this offer, the company will likely have to lay people off involuntarily and that is much less pleasant. We have a collective bargaining agreement which stipulates how this happens. It happens in reverse seniority order and if nobody takes the voluntary option I don't know that I'd be senior enough to avoid the involuntary furlough. The silver lining about furloughs in the airlines is that employees are also recalled, in seniority order, when business recovers.

    The union protects us insofar as they negotiate the contract and agreements on our behalf. This voluntary leave of absence was absolutely negotiated with the union. And it's been extremely well received, to the point that it's possible more folks take it than originally anticipated.

    There's also a VSP, Voluntary Separation Plan, that is very generous as well, but it's permanent. I'm not quite in a spot to take that one. But I expect a number of our employee group will decided they've had enough and they want to chop wood on the farm for years to come and since they're senior to me, I fully support their wood chopping ambitions. Or whatever ambitions they might have.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: Voluntary, partially paid leave of absence

    To me it sounds like the decision point is your retirement fund. If they're continuing the health insurance contribution they're making now, that's a big piece of it. I'd plot out what I have, how I think it will grow or not if I stopped contributing to it, and if I thought I'd die before the money runs out. We're in different situations, I'm older than you, but if I got laid off today I'd take the severance and retire when it ended. If I got your offer there wouldn't be any hesitation but the two things I mention above are answered the way I want them right now.
    Tom Ambros

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    Default Re: Voluntary, partially paid leave of absence

    Do you hate the people you work with and hate your job? If not, I wouldn't do it. I think air travel domestically returns faster than people expect. I think you will miss a lot of great moments with colleagues moving forward.

    I have a few friends who have retired in their early 40's. They were all optimistic in just winging it with all the free time. In their cases, they quickly became bored. When you are working hard and driven all your life, to lose it without something real to fill the gap, you quickly realize the stuff you enjoyed doing once and while, is kind of boring to do it everyday.

    I don't know your social group, but I assume most of them will still be working. So you will be solo most of the time. For some personalities, this is okay, for most it is not. You are a pilot. You are probably more a people person than you realize.

    I wouldn't do it.
     

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    Default Re: Voluntary, partially paid leave of absence

    Quote Originally Posted by vertical_doug View Post
    Do you hate the people you work with and hate your job? If not, I wouldn't do it. I think air travel domestically returns faster than people expect. I think you will miss a lot of great moments with colleagues moving forward.

    I have a few friends who have retired in their early 40's. They were all optimistic in just winging it with all the free time. In their cases, they quickly became bored. When you are working hard and driven all your life, to lose it without something real to fill the gap, you quickly realize the stuff you enjoyed doing once and while, is kind of boring to do it everyday.

    I don't know your social group, but I assume most of them will still be working. So you will be solo most of the time. For some personalities, this is okay, for most it is not. You are a pilot. You are probably more a people person than you realize.

    I wouldn't do it.
    I appreciate your candor and honesty. The fact is I don't socialize with my co-workers as much as one might imagine. In fact hardly at all. Most people in my business live their lives and we converge for work and then diverge after work. Most don't live where they are based, but commute from all over the country.

    I don't know what I will do. The fact that it's not permanent makes it appealing. I would not yet take the permanent option as it's not really viable for my situation.

    FWIW, I live alone, with no SO and no children. That is a choice and one I don't necessarily regret. But this career has definitely had a negative impact on other aspects of my social and family life. In spite of having no SO and no kids, I do have a family and a close and quality relationship with my siblings, in-laws, my mother and my nieces and nephew.

    The money isn't the biggest obstacle. The biggest obstacle is figuring out how to fill the time in a meaningful, rewarding manner. Just sitting around watching TV between bike rides isn't what I want.
    La Cheeserie!

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