Does everyone know to ask for compensation for floating holidays when someone is laid off?

I get that this is a fairly boring question.

But I think this question is one a LOT of people have - even though the answer is "it depends, look up your HR documents or benefits information" in 99% of cases.

I don't know how this is "too localized" - perhaps the exact instance of the question is too localized, but, the generalized question IS a good workplace question in my opinion.

edit: I've updated the question per some of the discussion below. My updates are minor (imo at least!).

  • The question still asks if he could have askedfor/demanded compensation though. That is not constuctive and too local – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jan 16 '13 at 17:53
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    I get that it's something people might wonder, but how useful is the site if it's mostly a repository for "just ask your employer" answers, which then gather rep because, even though they really don't tell you anything, are correct? Something just rubs me the wrong way about these. It's not really that they're too easy, it's that we can't answer them, there's just a too-easy way to say that while getting rep by answering instead of closing the question – Rarity Jan 17 '13 at 13:38
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    @Rarity I find those answers to be very useful, because then I have the answer to my question: I need to ask my employer since there is no industry-standard. If you want to outlaw all questions that should be asked to your employer instead of to here, you might as well close down the site, as that could probably be a valid answer to many of the questions here. – Rachel Jan 17 '13 at 16:04
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    A (the?) problem is while it might be obvious to some of us answers are "ask your boss/employer" it is not necessarily obvious to many or most people. So in cases resolution to a "I don't know what to do in this situation" problem will be "you should ask your employer." – enderland Jan 17 '13 at 16:05

It is really a specific employer policy question.

While most offices in the US are not going to pay it out the question itself can only be answered by looking at the policies of the office in question. In addition there are some regulations involved here that in some place may require or forbid paying them out.

The only question in this line that can reasonably be asked is how can I find out about my companies policy on paying holidays. And if you are smart enough to ask that question you are probably smart enough to know the answer already.

  • I agree it's a specific employer policy question. But even though this is the case it seems like a good question to have on The Workplace site – enderland Jan 16 '13 at 16:23
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    @enderland - No the good question to have is "How can I find out..." Feel free to ask it. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jan 16 '13 at 16:26
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    "It is really a specific employer policy question." - I would disagree. Many companies have floating holidays policies, so this question would apply to any employee that works for a company that has floating holidays, and is being laid off. If the question was something like "My company treats M/dd as a holiday because it's the boss's birthday. I got laid off and want to know if I can ask for compensation for this "holiday"", then I would consider it an employer-specific policy question. – Rachel Jan 16 '13 at 17:01
  • @Rachel - But the answer on how a company handles paying out unused floating holidays on layoff is an employer specific question. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jan 16 '13 at 17:04
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    @Chad But he's not asking how his company handles paying out unused floating holidays on layoffs.... he's asking "Are floating holidays payable when someone is laid off?". In fact, the very first line is "I'm wondering if floating holidays can be, or are, paid out to the employee when the company lays them off", and he ends with "Is it true I could have asked for/demanded compensation?". It's generic. He's not asking about his specific company, he's asking about in general. – Rachel Jan 16 '13 at 17:21
  • @Rachel - Actually he is asking if he could have asked his old company. It is not constructive and to local. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jan 16 '13 at 17:24
  • @Chad Would you think the question is OK if the line "Is it true I could have asked for/demanded compensation?" got changed to "I am now wondering if I could have asked for compensation", and the title question of "Are floating holidays payable when someone is laid off?" reiterated at the bottom of the question? – Rachel Jan 16 '13 at 17:28
  • @Rachel - No "are they payable" is a per employer policy answer so it is too local. If the question was What can i do now to find out if I am due compensation? or How can I find out if? I would have been ok with those questions. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jan 16 '13 at 17:32
  • @Chad I edited the question (slightly) to address these concerns. – enderland Jan 16 '13 at 17:43
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    @enderland >.< Now wouldn't it be ironic if someone answered "You could ask if floating holidays are payable when you get laid off on the Workplace.SE"... – Rachel Jan 16 '13 at 17:54
  • @enderland The point is, almost everyone knows they can ask the HR department at the company to find out for themselves. But they ask here to find out if such a request is reasonable/normal first, because they don't want to ask what could possibly be a "stupid" question. I don't see anything wrong with the initial version of the question. I can see how it could be mistaken for "too-localized" at first glance, however upon closer inspection I definitely think that is not the case, and it is an OK question for the site. – Rachel Jan 16 '13 at 17:55
  • I am hoping for one more delete before you get 3 more reopens... I suspect you will win the race – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jan 16 '13 at 18:01
  • @Rachel - FWIW I would be ok with a question that asked what the standard is for paying out unused floating holidays at termination. But to me the quality of the question is all in how it is asked. If the quesiton is asked poorly then it is a poor question. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jan 16 '13 at 18:16

This is "too localized" because of the way it is asked.

I see that in your answer to the question, you did attempt to give some advice to what might be a better question:

You can always ask about this sort of thing. You really don't have a whole lot to lose, either (unless you ask in a rude/unprofessional fashion) as it's not a significant amount of your time to ask.

But this actually illustrates why it was closed; this answer, although helpful (if a bit brief) is an answer to a different question. I don't think it's a particularly great question ("How do I find out if my floating holidays are payable?" is pretty simple and the answer is basically "Ask."), but it's still a different, and more answerable question.

The first part of your answer was basically explaining why we can't answer the question as asked. There is no known answer for every case (or even a wide selection of cases). That seems to me to be the very definition of "too localized".

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    I disagree with this. The exact answer the OP needs is too localized, however I do not think the question itself is too localized. In fact, a broadly applicable answer has already been written that applies to all cases where an employee has been laid off from a company that has floating holidays, and is wondering if he can or should ask for them to be paid out. – Rachel Jan 16 '13 at 17:31
  • Rachel, you're conflating the question you want it to be with the question it is. So edit it.. that's what closing is for. – Nicole Jan 16 '13 at 19:15
  • Ummm but that's exactly what the first version of the question said. The title was "Are floating holidays payable when someone is laid off?", the body begins with the line "I'm wondering if floating holidays can be, or are, paid out to the employee when the company lays them off", and ends with the question "Is it true I could have asked for/demanded compensation?". I can edit it if you want me to, but I really wouldn't be doing much to the main question other than probably changing the last question to a statement, and reiterating the title at the end of the question. – Rachel Jan 16 '13 at 21:25
  • @Rachel, No, that's the exact version of the question that is too localized. No one knows the answer to that question. – Nicole Jan 16 '13 at 21:38

The exact answer may be localized, however the question is definitely not too-localized as it applies to any employee that is being laid off from a company that offers floating holidays.

We will probably get many questions where the answer is

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this as companies are allowed to set their own policy on this matter. You need to ask your HR department about what your company's policy on this is.

This is OK. It provides the OP the answer they need, and will help other visitors in the future that come across that answer because they have the same question.

The best analogy I can think of for this is code questions on Stack Overflow. An answer explaining what the problem is and how to fix it is far better than an answer that posts the exact code to fix the problem. The first answer applies to anyone with the same problem, while the second only applies to the OP's specific situation.

In the case of this specific question, we can not provide an exact answer for the OP's situation since we do not know the policy of the company he used to work for, and in fact we wouldn't want to as that question would only apply to him, and would not be useful to future visitors.

However we can answer their question by telling them what they need to do figure out the exact answer to their situation. In fact, this is better as it will not only help the OP, but also help future visitors with the same question.

I am voting to reopen the question.


This isn't a new category of question. The problem with these questions is that the "answer" boils down to:

I don't know, ask your HR/payroll/management/sales/etc department

This might seem helpful, but it's not really anything but an admission that you (and likely, no one else on the site) can answer the question.

If your answer states that we can't answer the question, you should probably leave a close vote and comment, not an answer. This is hardly any different from the "belongs on programmers" answers on Stack Overflow. Arguably they're worse, since there's really nothing we can do. We, the internet, in our infinite knowledge, are more or less unable to answer the question.

Is the site that useful if we keep around a bunch of questions where the answer is "there is no answer, ask someone else"? And I know reputation is "fake internet points" to many, but it really irks me that two of the best ways to earn rep on the site are to say "you should quit" and now "ask someone else". Answers should be reserved when we can answer the fundamental problem at hand.

So I see two options here: close as too localized and leave the "ask HR" remarks as a comment or make a canonical "who do I ask for this" question. The major use case I can see here are newbies to the workforce who legitimately do not know which department they should ask. We could have some general resources to hint that issues of pay and vacation probably go to payroll/HR, what project is your priority goes to your direct manager, etc etc. I'm not sure quite how that would work, but at least the answers would be answers.

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    I have mixed feelings on this. Some questions that might be the answer (and a good answer) to a question. Sometimes people might think there are answers to that question elsewhere (like the vacation policy one - thinking to ask the company who just laid you off about this probably is not the first instinct of most people; obviously it's not for the person who asked). – enderland Jan 17 '13 at 15:58
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    The answer that "there is no industry-standard and you have to ask your employer" would actually be very helpful/useful for many users and questions. Personally I don't like harassing my HR manager more than I have to, particularly not for potentially "stupid" questions. An answer like that would be very useful to me, and I do not think we should outlaw questions just because that is the answer. In addition, most of the time when people ask questions with those answers, they don't know that is going to be the answer, so how can they know it will considered a "bad question"? – Rachel Jan 17 '13 at 15:58
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    but at the same time, I do think a canonical "ask your boss" or "ask HR" question really might be good to close some of these questions as duplicates – enderland Jan 17 '13 at 15:58

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