Our employees accrue vacation time at a rate depending on their years of service. For people with 5 yrs seniority or more (most everyone), we give 2.31 hours per week which equates to 3 weeks per year. Employees can carry their balance over to the next year, and sometimes at my discretion, they can "cash in" one weeks' worth and get a vacation paycheck. So it's almost like an add-on to their regular salary.
The issue is that now we have 2 people who have become part-timers (they work only 4.5 to 5 hours per day, out of an 8-hour day). The question is whether they should now earn fewer vacation hours per week (i.e., to the extent of their part time percentage)?
If we cut their vacation hours accrual, then it will seem to them like a pay cut relative to other employees with similar seniority, or a taking away of a benefit they're accustomed to. They didn't become part-time voluntarily... it's that we just don't have enough work to keep them busy at this time. On the other hand, to continue vacation accrual at the same rate means that they will be earning about 5-6 weeks' vacation time per year, which is unfair to other employees and also seems rather excessive from an operational standpoint. And if they don't use the accrued hours, their balances will become (and have already become) too high (in excess of 8 wks+) - over time could be a sizable liability for the company to carry.
What would you do? And what would be fair?