Length of Vacation Time for Registered Nurses

  1. Hi fellow Nurses~

    I am looking through a career change to Nursing which i read online is all perfect for me, except when it comes to time off. I understand that vacation times differ from person to person and place to place, but in Ontario if you have a union your entitled to i believe 4 weeks paid vacation after 3 years of experience as a RN.

    My question is first, are u allowed to take that 4 weeks at once throughout the year, or are u more likely to be forced to take 1 week maximum off until it accumulates to 4 weeks? The reason why i say this is because, since there is a nurse shortage hospital force nurses not to take more than 2 weeks at a time, or some case 1 week, is this really the case, they even would deny for unpaid leave of absence?

    I also notice that Ontario has 12 Holidays throughout the year, if a nurses volunteers to work in any of the holidays i believe they are entitled to a day off anytime else in the year. Are nurses allowed to combined these holidays to their vacation time to make it an extended vacation? For example if a nurse is entitled to 4 weeks vacation + 5 holidays = they are off work for 5 weeks?

    One of my greatest motivation in life is to travel, usually 1 month off a year so i can cool down and explore far places of the world. I cant travel for example to Asia from Canada for a week and back, it would be disastrous and all that jet lag! the whole point of a vacation is to go somewhere far and different not somewhere close 500 km away. I am a type of person that doesn't mind working hard and long hours in a week 45hrs-56 hrs for 11 months, as long as i am able to get a chuck of vacation at one time so i can enjoy.

    Please share your experiences of how likely are u to get long vacations at one go, also if thats not the case can u always get approved for unpaid leave of absent?
    Last edit by jladha on Apr 4, '12
  2. Poll: How long is your Paid-Time Off (Vacation) at one go?

    • 1 week max per time until it accumulates to 4 weeks a year

      18.75% 3
    • 2 weeks max per time and another 2 weeks later in the year

      31.25% 5
    • 3 weeks at first and the remaining 1 week later in the year

      0% 0
    • All 4 weeks together

      50.00% 8
    16 Votes
  3. Visit jladha profile page

    About jladha

    Joined: Apr '12; Posts: 11; Likes: 1


  4. by   loriangel14
    It depends on your union and whether you are part time or full time.Part timers get no paid holidays.Where I work three years as a full timer would only get you 2 weeks paid holiday.Each place would have their own policies as to how much you can take off at once.Where I work it is only a week at a time.A leave of abscence would be for a life emergency,not a vacation.
    Also vacations are approved by seniority so if you are asking for time off in prime time you probably won't get it.
    Last edit by loriangel14 on Apr 4, '12
  5. by   Fiona59
    My first thought was this is a joke, honest.

    Hospital nurses have the hardest time getting vacation time. I've been nursing for over a decade and don't have enough seniority to get the vacation times I want. If you hold a position, it's done by seniority and new kid on the block gets stuck with the worst times.

    If you want that much flexibility you should never take a position and remain a casual and float unit to unit.

    You need to research contracts and labour laws. While it is possible to work as much as you want, eventually the body wears out and off you go with a nasty cold that you can't shake. After 37.75 hours, it's overtime. Overtime goes by seniority, so as the new hire, you'll be offered it last.

    Right now, I have 2.5 months of vacation that unless I want to take next February or March as a lump, I'll be lucky to get 3 days here and there before then.
  6. by   Pepper The Cat
    The chances of getting a full time position right away are slim, so don't get your hopes up.Getting 4 weeks off at a time will depend on your facility, your unit and your manager. If you are in a unionized environment seniority will also be a factor.
  7. by   mazy
    There's no nursing shortage, so you'd be best to focus on getting through school and actually getting a job.

    Once you get a job, if and when that happens, you will accrue vacation time as you work. To accrue four weeks of vacation time you will have to put in at least a year, probably more.

    Also, nurses do not volunteer to work holidays. They are required to work holidays. And weekends.

    As others have stated, being allowed to actually take your vacation time depends on many factors, one of which is if they will have staff available to cover your shifts, another of which is seniority and whether any of your senior co-workers want time offwhen you want time off.

    I've never heard of a nurse taking more than two weeks of vacation at a time; most facilities won't allow it, so if you're looking for a job where you can do that, you will have a very narrow window of opportunity for facilities you can work at. Given the scarcity of nursing work out there, you will have a lot of problems finding work if vacation time is your priority.

    If travel time is what you are hoping for, best to take agency work, or work as a travel nurse, but you'll have to have experience and that takes you right back to getting a job to begin with. Which will be hard, because the nursing market is rough.
  8. by   loriangel14
    Good points Mazy.Yeah there is no volunteering to work holidays,you get scheduled.Where I am you don't accrue holiday time if you are part time.I can take time off but it's unpaid.
  9. by   Fiona59
    Lori: get a better union! I get my point equivalent in paid vacation based on the full time hours. It's a 155 hours after the first year so a part timer get .4, .5 of that (or whatever)

    It's only casual who don't get paid time off but get vacation pay on every cheque.
  10. by   loriangel14
    Lol yeah we need better people fighting for stuff.Notice how our scope gets wider but the cheque doesn't get bigger at the same time.But I do get 14% added on in lieu of benefits and holiday pay.
  11. by   Alpine Hiker
    I completely agree with loriangel, mazy and fiona.

    I am a second-career-nurse-to-be, with 15 years experience in my previous career, so I cannot comment on vacation time in nursing. However, I have never heard of any career, in the private or public sector, that lets a person take their maximum allowed vacation time in one go. I think that's just not a realistic expectation, for any job/career.

    It was difficult enough getting a week off in my previous career -- I fully anticipate it will be much harder as a nurse, especially given that I'll be giving my all my accumulated seniority in my previous career, and starting at the bottom of the provebial totem pole.
  12. by   joanna73
    It really depends where you live and work. Be thankful as a new grad if you have work. Seniority rules. Shifts, rotations, and vacation entitlement is granted by seniority. You get what you get. Unless you've worked somewhere 20 or 30 years, often your 4 week entitlement isn't taken altogether. Furthermore, full time hours are rare. As a new grad, you'll probably get 2 weeks off the first year, if you are entitled at all. Depends on your FTE.

    For example, I've been at my workplace for 18 months almost. I have 15 days vacation. I took 7 off for a total of 3 weeks because I had scheduled days off in my rotation. I asked for 5 more off for a total of 2 weeks. The month long vacations you're hoping for probably won't happen as a new grad.
    Last edit by NotReady4PrimeTime on Apr 5, '12 : Reason: continuation on same theme
  13. by   Daisy_08
    I in ON and there IS an RN shortage in the less desirable areas- CCC, rehab medicine, psych, I know lots of new grads walking into those lines, so don't feel hopeless. Just don't expect to be working in the ER or L&D unless you can get a new grad guarantee spot.

    As for vacation, I know after you work for a number of years the vacation is good. However like others have posted, good luck getting approved. I know people with 7 years of full time who can't get more than a weekend off in the summer. Finding replacement is hard.

    Although the nice thing about being pt in the summer is your almost guaranteed full time. I feel some OT in my near future!
    Last edit by Daisy_08 on Apr 6, '12 : Reason: spelling
  14. by   loriangel14
    I am pt and I work full time every week.No shortage of work.
  15. by   ajaxgirl
    No shortage of work at my workplace either.