I heard on the news last night that the Greens are against the voluntary sale of a holiday week – because in a tough economic climate people may well have to sell the week.

However, how this is bad doesn’t make sense to me.  People are struggling because of the poor economic climate, so the value to the employee of selling a week of holiday is very high – they really want to do it.  When we prevent people from doing this aren’t we actually hurting them more?

It is like the Greens are saying that they don’t like the policy because people will use it – and the Greens think there is some reason (maybe externalities?) why people should HAVE to have this holiday, even if they would rather have the money to feed their family …

Beware emotive language that is used to hide the logic of the argument!

12 replies
  1. Matt Nolan
    Matt Nolan says:


    I have yet to hear of a compelling argument against the policy. I can think of one (there is always one 😉 ), but I don’t want to write it because people might get it confused with my actual opinion 😉

  2. Eric Crampton
    Eric Crampton says:

    Same logic that says people shouldn’t be allowed to sell their kidneys. When you see voluntary monetary exchange as coercion, all Pareto logic goes out the window.

  3. Eric Crampton
    Eric Crampton says:

    Of course I meant the Greens, Matt….

    I wonder what the University would say if I asked to trade a week’s holidays for the pay increase. I suspect they wouldn’t like it.

  4. Matt Nolan
    Matt Nolan says:

    @Eric Crampton

    I know you meant the Greens – I was merely trying to represent my irritation with their position 🙂

    I imagine that the university implicitly expects you to be working during your holiday time anyway – hence why they won’t be too happy to just start paying more

  5. StephenR
    StephenR says:

    Academics’ egos sometimes preclude them from taking real breaks anyway, it seems. “Must…publish…mmooooooore!” 😀

  6. Eric Crampton
    Eric Crampton says:

    The only change we had with the move to four weeks’ holiday was that we had to start officially blocking off dates that we were “officially” on leave to prevent some jerks from claiming that they’d accumulated a year’s leave after 12 years of work. I noticed no change in the likelihood of anyone being in his office with the extra week of leave.

    Will have to ask our HR rep what the Uni’s position on it is. Could be interesting.

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