Ideas: Share Vacation Time

This idea is excerpted from Barbara’s book “CARE Packages for the Workplace–Dozens of Little Things You Can Do to Regenerate Spirit at Work” (McGraw-Hill, 1996) 


One very special way to create a wonderful spirit of empathy and caring in your organization is to have a policy that employees can share their vacation time with others.


Catherine Angeli, the manager of the Gogebic and Iron County offices of the Michigan Department of Social Services, told me about a decision that was mutually reached between Labor Relations and their Central Office during a recent heartrending incident in their office. An employee’s seven year old son was discovered to be terminally ill with cancer, and the employee wanted to be able to stay home with him during his last days.

However, she had very little vacation time left. When a number of her co-workers volunteered to give her some of their leave time, it was decided that other DSS employees could donate up to 240 total hours of their time to share with the mother of the little boy. Employees from the Marquette, Houghton, and Gogebic offices all volunteered days of their own vacation time, and even when the maximum number of hours had been donated, calls were still coming in. There have been other cases throughout the state of Michigan of employees donating their vacation time to co-workers in crisis.

What a very special way to show their empathy and care!

One of the stories in the “Random Acts of Kindness” column in the Saint Francis Medical Center “Carrillon” newsletter in Peoria, Illinois, mentions employees sharing vacation time:

Mary Vancil, ICU, wants to thank her co-workers who donated vacation time to her when her husband suffered a heart attack and required surgery. 


I think it helps for an organization have a written policy that gives employees permission to be able to donate their vacation time. In one case an employee wanted to donate time to a co-worker in distress, but because she was a union member and the other person was not, the details could not be worked out to make that happen. When crises occur, there is no time for bureaucracy and Red Tape!

Barbara Glanz Biography

A member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame and one of fewer than 700 Certified Speaking Professionals worldwide, Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, works with organizations to improve morale, retention and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives. She is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all 7 continents and in all 50 states. Known as "the business speaker who speaks to your heart as well as to your head," Barbara is the author of twelve books including The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®, CARE Packages for the Workplace, and 180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm™. Voted "best keynote presenter you have heard or used" by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Barbara uses her Master’s degree in Adult Learning to design programs that cause behavior change. She lives and breathes her personal motto: “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™” and can be reached at and

Home | About | Hiring Barbara | Programs | Video FAQ | Videos | Products | Articles & Ideas | Blog | Contact