Forced Vacations at KPMG?

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A tougher time-off policy at KPMG, on the heels of a string of Big Four layoffs, is stirring up unpleasant feelings around the blogosphere.

A leaked internal memo Tuesday from two KPMG executives cuts the number of paid days off an employee can carry into the next fiscal year, although without changing the amounts employees accrue each year. The memo also says the firm will close for a total of four additional days this summer (surrounding three holiday weekends) and those days will count against employees' balance of paid days off.

The document is dated Tuesday and bears the names of Jack Taylor, executive vice chair, operations, and Bruce Pfau, vice chair, human resources. We saw it deep down in a comment thread on Re:The Auditors, where an anonymous user posted it Tuesday morning.

In response, KPMG spokesman Dan Ginsburg tells eFinancialCareers News: "We have a very generous vacation policy and these changes keep us more than competitive in this area." The memo states that some Big Four competitors allow no carryover of paid time off into the following year.

Currently, KPMG lets each employee carry forward up to 1.25 times the number of paid days the employee would accrue over a year. The memo reduces that maximum carryover to 75 percent of a year's time-off allotment for the current fiscal year ending Sept. 30, and to half the annual allotment for the following fiscal year. (The amount of paid time off that employees earn each year won't change - just the amount that can be saved and used the following year.)

Even the reduced ceilings may sound generous to those who don't work at a Big Four accounting firm. But KPMG employees are accustomed to being able to carry large vacation balances. The person who posted the text on Re:The Auditors called the change "horrendous" and "reprehensible."

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