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Comfort Food

by Meghann on March 18, 2010

I’m sorry, I didn’t realize how many people didn’t know what PTO was! πŸ™‚

PTO = Paid Time Off

Some places refer to it as vacation days, I know my Mom’s work calls it PL (personal leave), but it all means the same thing.

At my job we accrual so many hours of PTO per pay period, which means we are always adding to out PTO pot. When I worked at the newspaper, we were given so many days at the beginning of the year that we had to use it or loose it by the start of the next year. Where I work now the hours thankfully roll over. Though it doesn’t do me any good sense I am always in the hole. I can’t help it! I love to travel!

How does your job handle time off? I’m particularly interested in the answers from those lucky folks who live in other countries. I know the U.S. is so wrapped around the concept of 9-5, is it more freeing in other places around the world?

Anyways, this afternoon I enjoyed a refreshing snack of cantaloupe and Barney Butter.


Cantaloupe with almond butter is my new favorite combination. Nom Nom Nom πŸ™‚

I wasn’t feeling very creative with dinner tonight, so I decided comfort food was in order.


Baked BBQ Tofu is in a old favorite, but for some reason doesn’t get enough play time on the blog.


I marinated extra firm tofu in bbq sauce for 30 minutes, then baked it at 415 for 20 minutes, flipped it and baked another 20.

While the tofu was baking I had come acorn squash wedges in there as well.


I kept the squash simple with just some salt and pepper for seasoning. Sometimes you just need to let the food speak for it self. Acorn squash is perfect as is in my opinion. πŸ™‚

My plate was missing the color green. I found some frozen okra in the freezer that fixed that problem.


As soon as I was done with dinner I couldn’t wait to dig in to the Great Harvest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip bread Jacquie had sent me in my Great Harvest package on Tuesday.


I was so obsessed with the Irish Soda Bread that I had almost forgot about the pumpkin bread!!


Check out those chocolate chips!


With the last bit of my Egg Nog ice cream on top.


Twas excellent! πŸ™‚

Tomorrow is Friday! Yay!

Good Night!

1 theprocessofhealing March 18, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Your dessert – amazingness!!!! I haven’t tried that flavor of their bread yet.. super jealous!! Can’t go wrong where pumpkin and chocolate are concerned πŸ˜‰

2 Runeatrepeat March 18, 2010 at 9:10 pm

I tried a piece of that choc chip bread last time I hit up GH – amazing!

3 Kristen March 18, 2010 at 9:11 pm

I’m in Canada (and currently live in the province of Ontario)- there are “statutory holidays” that we HAVE to have off (or if you work in the service industry, they have to pay you extra). These are New Year’s Day, the “Family Day” holiday in February, Good Friday (not Easter Monday- though many employers close that day…mine does not), Victoria day (in May), Canada Day (July 1st), Heritage day (or something like that…in August), Labour day, Thanksgiving Monday (in October), Christmas day, and Boxing day (the 26th of December).

On top of that, I get 20 days vacation (some in my company get more, some get fewer…it depends on your “level” and how long you’ve worked there), 15 days of sick leave, and there are some other leave days that can be used for different circumstances (like if my husband were to have surgery or get sick and I needed to take a couple of days off to take care of him).

I can roll over 10 days of vacation a year (so if I only take 10 this year, I can add 10 to next year, but if I only took 9 days, I would still only be able to roll over 10 days for next year) but the sick time just gets lost…which seems reasonable because it is there for sickness.

All in all, it is a pretty good system at my workplace…I think I’m pretty lucky.

4 Dori March 18, 2010 at 9:17 pm

I haven’t had a paid vacation day since I started my job 2.5 years ago. Basically, it is slave labor πŸ™

5 Emily March 18, 2010 at 9:25 pm

I don’t get paid time off. I work for a non-profit, and many of us employees are part-time (I work 32 hours a week)–so we don’t get health insurance or paid vacation/paid time off of any kind.

6 Ashley March 18, 2010 at 9:30 pm

I loooove chocolate chip pumpkin bread….

I work for the federal government…right now I get four hours of sick leave every two weeks and four hours of annual leave every two weeks, so 13 days of each a year. Later this year I’ll have worked for the government for three years, so I’ll start getting six hours of annual leave every two weeks, (20 days a year). But I work nine-hour days so I can have every other Friday off, and between that, federal holidays (10 or 11 a year? 11?), and time I’ve gained from working more than 80 hours in a pay period, I rarely use my annual leave…our sick leave rolls over, but we can only carry 240-something hours of annual leave over into the new year, which may be a problem for me in a couple of years. I should take more vacations. =D

7 crystal March 18, 2010 at 9:35 pm

My husband gets 10 hours a month, but he can work extra and use it as comp time (up to point). He also gets major holidays off, 4 days for Thanksgiving, 1.5 weeks for Christmas, and for some reason gets 4 days for Memorial Day and 4 days for the 4th. I’m a SAHM so you can look at it as either I get every day off or I get no time off. When I’m up at 3am with a teething toddler though it feels like no time off.

8 Beth March 18, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Ohhh that chocolate chip bread looks SO good!!

My company works the same as yours – we accrue time hours of leave every pay period (3.33 a pay period) because we get 10 days a year. It’s kind of sad how quickly it goes, but how slowly it seems to add up!

9 sunnytropic March 18, 2010 at 10:06 pm

At my old job I was just like you – my PTO was always close to 0 or in the negative! I got good time off too, 3 weeks your first 2 years then 4 weeks after that!

My new job I get 2 weeks + 2 floating holidays + 3 flex days in the summer so it adds up to 3 weeks, really. I have only been there a couple months so I haven’t taken time off yet this year but I am planning a few trips. I love to travel too! And I don’t feel guilty about taking my vacation; if they didn’t want to use it, they wouldn’t give it to you! As long as you plan ahead there is no excuse!

10 Kyra March 18, 2010 at 10:08 pm

We own a towing company with 10 trucks and PTO in my world means Power Take-Off, it’s a part on the truck…an important one!

11 rollerkoesterrun March 18, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Hey girl!

1- Thanks for clarifying. I wasn’t sure either, but had fun sitting here trying to place the acronyms!!! Yea, I’m a nerd πŸ˜‰

2- Careful with that pumpkin bread! Not sure if you read my blog or not, but that stuff is laced with addictive ingredients!!! Not really, but I feel like it is today πŸ™‚ HAHA!


12 Erin (Texan Couture) March 18, 2010 at 10:20 pm

I too accrue PTO every pay perio. Although my company only allows us to roll over 16 hours per year so that usually means no long vacations ever in January πŸ™

13 Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) March 18, 2010 at 10:32 pm

yum pumpkin chocolate chip bread looks great!

14 Caz March 18, 2010 at 10:41 pm

I’m in Australia and pretty much it varies based on where you work (ie public service, hospitality, corporate etc.)

But everyone starts with a mandatory 20-days (4 weeks) per year that you either get at the start of the year, or accrue per pay period (I accrue 11.5 hrs/month or 5 days/quarter).

That’s not including the statutory holidays (of which Australia has less than the US).

As you stay in a company, you earn more Annual Leave days (after 5 years I think you get 6 weeks, 8 weeks after 10 years?) and/or depending on what sector (government, hospitals etc. get more AL).

Depending where you work it’s also a “use it or lose it” situation or a roll-over. They try to encourage people not to save it up though, except in special circumstances.

Then you get sick days (6 per year is standard? I’m not sure. At my office it’s just “reasonable” ie don’t come in if you’re too sick to get out of bed, but if you’re taking a LOT of time off, you’d probably require a doctors certificate).

Anyway, we get the impression that our situation is better than North America’s but we’re nowhere near as lucky as France or a lot of European countries!

15 Kayla March 18, 2010 at 10:43 pm

I always forget that not everyone knows what PTO is too πŸ™‚ We gain so many days a month but it’s really random, one month you get 1 day, the next can be 2, and one month is 4. It’s based off when you started and I just started in January. I had 2 days already but then had food poisoning last week so now I just have 1, but I should get another one here soon. 7 of our days roll over but we have to use the rest or lose them. I’m sure that was very interesting to you πŸ™‚

The cantaloupe and almond butter looks really good. And that pumpkin bread is making me drool πŸ™‚

16 Allie (Live Laugh Eat) March 18, 2010 at 10:46 pm

I think I’m going to have to pay a visit to the Chapel Hill Great Harvest this weekend for some loaves–you are making my bread cravings go sky high.

17 laura March 18, 2010 at 10:49 pm

We have a few Great Harvests here in Utah and I agree with Allie — you’re making me hungry! May have to visit one this weekend. πŸ™‚

18 inmytummy March 18, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Mine is like your old job – we get a certain number of weeks (based on how long we’ve worked there) at the beginning of the year and it doesn’t carry over.

19 Molly March 18, 2010 at 11:19 pm

On no, no more PTO :o(

Awesome dessert bread!

20 Kim March 18, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Mmm that baked tofu looks fantastic! What’s the texture like though?

21 Jenna March 18, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Bread looks delishh!

22 Tiffany March 18, 2010 at 11:41 pm

I’ve worked for the same company for just over 4 years now. The first 3 years I worked there, I was given 2 weeks “optional leave” at the start of each year I was there…but that counted for both personal AND sick time. Things are a little better now (we’ve switched over to a system similar to yours, where we accrue time off with each paycheck) and the max # of hours we can roll over is 160/yr. But again, that is for both personal and sick leave, so it’s not the BEST of situations.

That bread looks UH.MAZ.ING! I always see it on Kath’s page, and didn’t even realize that we had them on the west coast until I passed by one on my vacation up north. I’ve already secured a Saturday a.m. breakfast date at the Great Harvest closest to San Diego (hello 40 minute drive for bread!)

23 Erin March 18, 2010 at 11:42 pm

That bread looks incredible and with the ice cream, even better! πŸ˜€

24 Erin March 18, 2010 at 11:49 pm

I work at a university and as a salaried (not hourly) employee I accrue paid vacation time with every paycheck. I can accrue up to three weeks of vacation time but I can only roll over two weeks at the end of the year. We also get two paid floating “holidays”. I don’t have a set amount of sick leave as a salaried employee. It’s pretty much a “don’t abuse it” policy.

When my husband was full time at his job he got 10 days of paid leave. That included sick time and vacation. Obviously I have a better deal at my job!

And chocolate chip pumpkin bread? YUM!

25 Alice March 18, 2010 at 11:52 pm

I’m also in Australia (hi Caz!) – my job starts with the same 4 weeks per year that is accrued. So, if I’ve been at my job 6 months, I can only take 2 weeks leave – unless I accumlate ‘time off in lieu’ (overtime I guess you’d call it?) So if I want to take off 5 weeks, I can just work a lot of extra hours leading up to that to make up the extra week.

Some government jobs here give you a nine day fortnight – so you get a day off every fortnight FOR NOTHING. Doesn’t come out of your holiday time, doesn’t come out of your ‘time off in lieu’, it’s just given to you, fully paid! Crazy. I’m incredibly jealous πŸ™‚

26 Heather March 18, 2010 at 11:52 pm

your tofu looks so good…i just can’t bring myself to eat it because of the texture though πŸ™ bbq sounds amazing period though…i think it’s almost summer time πŸ™‚

27 Jayce March 19, 2010 at 12:08 am

I am a nurse, and my PTO works similarly to yours. I accrue PTO hours the longer I work, and it all goes into one “bank” to be used for vacations, sick days, etc. I think I can get up to a total of 25 days (well, nights for me) in a year, and that max increases the longer I am there. I work 3 12-hour nights a week, so I am often able to work in little mini-vacays and trips without taking PTOs if I can schedule myself accordingly.

28 Jenny March 19, 2010 at 12:18 am

I think a lot of us don’t know what PTO is because…. maybe we haven’t had legit jobs yet?? haha… another night of great eats on your part!

29 Ann March 19, 2010 at 12:20 am

I currently work in the Netherlands. The minimum vacation days for a full-time employee is 20 days–I get 25 at my current company, and interviewed at a place which offered 30. As nearly as I can tell, the days are allotted at the start of the year instead of “accruing” them throughout the year. We get several mandatory holidays throughout the year (you know the drill–Christmas, New Years). However, at least at this company (I gather it’s fairly common here)… no “sick days.” You just call in sick when you’re sick, it doesn’t get subtracted from a “total sum” of sick days you’re allowed to have during the year. I believe if you’re sick for more than a few days you’re required to see a doctor (to prevent abuse of this system).

30 Crystal March 19, 2010 at 12:56 am

Certain Stat holidays have shorter hours, and the store is closed Christmas. Other than that, we have to request what days we want off but they won’t be paid for. Each cheque a bit of money goes to a “Vacation Fund” and that money can be requested anytime. It never goes away, just builds.

BC, Canada

31 Laura March 19, 2010 at 12:58 am

I’m in New Zealand, and it doesn’t actually apply to me yet – thanks to eight years so far of university! I work part-time student jobs, but they’re obviously just paid by the hour. However, the standard deal is that everyone gets 4 weeks paid holiday leave per year, which I believe, but am not sure, is rising to five weeks per year? Plus public holidays (stat days) which have to be taken off. I know at the university, though, the stat days are included in your paid annual leave, so for instance, the university closes down from December 24 until January 5, usually, so those days have to come out of your annual leave, whether you want to take them then or not.

32 haya (living and learning) March 19, 2010 at 5:28 am

i get all my days at the beginning of the fiscal year (april) – 15 now until i have worked for 8 years or something and i can roll over up to 35 of them. we also get a volunteer day and a personal day, which are kind of like floaters (plus stat holidays, obvi. i get a few extra than average, like easter monday and remembrance day)

i’m not sure i’d be allowed to ever be “in the hole” with my time off, though i have never asked. i’m currently trying to bank a few extra days every year for a big trip next year.

33 Marianne March 19, 2010 at 5:31 am

I’m Norwegian, and we are pretty lucky with regard to vacation days here – all full-time employees (regardless of where you work) are entitled to 25 days of paid vacation. This is in addition to public holidays.

If you get sick you don’t have to use any of your vacation days (although a doctor’s declaration is required in absences > 3 days). If you have a baby, you can choose between 56 weeks at 80% pay or 46 weeks at 100% pay (capped at $65,000). This time is split between the parents at their own discretion.

I used to work in the UK, where it was really good, too, but I think it depends more on your employer (I worked for a big 4 accounting firm that had really good benefits). I got 25 days vacation, and Β£500 in benefits that I could choose to either spend on dental care, premium health care, or an additional 5 days of paid leave. I went for the paid leave.

34 CJ March 19, 2010 at 5:36 am

The UK varies – we get some statutory holidays, bank holidays for example are some random Mondays, Good Friday, Christmas Day, the day after Christmas (Boxing Day), New Years Day and then my company gives us 25 days leave. It rolls over in January but you can only roll over 3 days – the rest you lose.

I don’t know if we have a policy on sick leave – good thing I haven’t gotten too sick since starting!

I would not be able to cope with chocolate chip bread in my house – it wouldn’t last at all!

– CJ

35 M March 19, 2010 at 5:55 am

This makes me really, really hate my job!
My blackberry is a permanent appendage. I really need to reevaluate my priorities, but the $100k in loans says getting out of debt is priority number one! πŸ™

36 Heather March 19, 2010 at 6:15 am

We accumulate PTO for each hour we work (so basically per pay period) and the amount you earn per hour increases for every 5 years you work. Ours can roll over but we’re only ever allowed to keep 3 weeks at a time or it disappears– I learned that the hard way saving up for a big vacation!

37 Michele March 19, 2010 at 7:30 am

My PTO (called Annual Leave where I work) accrues like yours… 22.5 days per year. We also accrue 12 sick days per year. I’m intrigued because you say you’re always in the hole. You’re pretty fortunate to be able to take PAID time off when you don’t have the hours available to do so. I think most people would probably have to take it unpaid if they didn’t have the PTO. That’s nice.

38 Becky March 19, 2010 at 7:33 am

I’m a teacher so I get the typical school vacations and holidays. I have a very desirable schedule – although, I work at home A LOT – but sometimes, I wish I could take a vacation when it’s not the most expensive, peak season. Ah well, I still wouldn’t trade my schedule for much! I found a Great Harvest near me and I am going! That bread looks too good.

39 Birgit March 19, 2010 at 7:41 am

I am from Austria, and we have a system very similiar to Norway regarding paid-vacation-time and sick leave. We get 25 days a year (starting either on January 1st or the day you started working for your company).
Regarding the sick leave: it depends on the company where you work. Some want a doctor’s confirmation from the first day of sicknes on, others only if stay at home longer than 3 days.

Before maternity leave I used to work at a university and we could roll over up to 20 hours of over-time (to be used for days-off or if I wanted to go home earlier) each month.
In addition, we could roll over up to 50 holiday-days into the next year.
My boss once was threatend to loose a few weeks because she had so much left – but that could never happen to me πŸ™‚

40 Cat March 19, 2010 at 7:51 am

I’m very lucky where I work because like you we get “leave” accrued every pay period plus it rolls over into the next year. We’re also very flexible in what time we can work. I normally work 7-3:30 but there are coworkers who work even earlier & some who start later.

41 Becky @ flybynyght March 19, 2010 at 7:57 am

Pumpkin Chocolate chip bread?? Wow, I think I just heard angels singing…

I get two weeks off of work – pd for the year (accrued through vacation pay – 4% of my pay each week) and if I want any more I have to beg! And not get paid for it πŸ™

42 kirsten March 19, 2010 at 8:50 am

I have PTO and accrue 1 1/2 days per month (which we can take in advance) I get 18 a year and can carry over up to 5. So it’s not too bad. The only time I really hate it is if I get sick and have to take a whole week off for that (2 years ago I had the flu and it killed my vacation time.) Otherwise I think its a pretty good amount of time off per year.

43 Kelly March 19, 2010 at 9:01 am

That bread looks delicious. I get 10 vacay days, not sick time, and that’s it. If i’m sick or need to take a day off after my 10 vacay days are used up I don’t get paid. It blows.

44 Megan March 19, 2010 at 9:05 am

I have a great job when it comes to leave- I work for a state gov. We get 1.25 days of sick and 1.25 days of vacation a month. Plus 12 or 13, I think 13 holidays. The sick and pto rolls over year to year- once you get 45 vacation days saved up it won’t roll over anymore though. And the sick time can get up to 6 months or something before it won’t roll over. We work flex schedules and only work 37.5 hrs a week, so I work 8.5 hr days Mon-Thurs in order to just work 3.5 hrs on Friday mornings(which really helps with taking long weekends away and not taking time off!)

45 Catherine March 19, 2010 at 9:08 am

Oddly Baked tofu is comfort food for me too! I loove it dipped in some deliciously not good for you BBQ sauce too πŸ™‚

46 Mara @ What's For Dinner? March 19, 2010 at 9:12 am

I’m a teacher, so I just get the same breaks as the students, which means a week off the week after next!

47 Carolyn @ March 19, 2010 at 9:23 am

I got great leave at the University (24 days of leave and pretty much unlimited sick leave). Not that I’m at a gov. contractor I make a lot more money but the leave SUCKS! 15 days per year total. No dilineation between sick and personal leave.

48 Lacey March 19, 2010 at 9:36 am

I have PTO where I work (with everything being taken from this bank- sick days, personal days and holidays). I am curious as to what happens when you’re in the “negative”. If we don’t have enough PTO to cover our time off we just don’t get paid.

49 Sarah March 19, 2010 at 9:37 am

i get 10 vacation days and 3 sick days along with the standard holidays (just christmas and those big ones)…reading some of these responses from people in other countries makes me very jealous!!! one of my roomates gets 5 weeks which is pretty amazing…although she is an accountant and from jan-march works insane hours so might not be worth it.

50 missyrayn March 19, 2010 at 11:36 am

O yum pumpkin bread!

I’m in the US but get 4 weeks each year use it or lose it.

51 Tracey March 19, 2010 at 1:38 pm

I’ve only had Okra once in my life and I didn’t like it. It had an almost sour taste to it. Is that what it’s supposed to taste like?

52 Jess March 19, 2010 at 1:46 pm

I accrue 4 hours of vacation time and 4 hours of sick leave per pay period. Our sick leave and annual leave are kept in different pots, which is kind of nice.

53 Allison March 19, 2010 at 7:19 pm

I’m a teacher, so during the school year, my schedule is really rigid. I don’t take time off unless I am really sick or have a very special event like a good friend’s wedding. However, my holiday break and summer are extremely flexible! I do work at my school a bit in the summer and also do consulting, but I travel a lot during that time as well.

54 Bridget March 22, 2010 at 10:41 am

Sorry to reply so late to this post! I was out and about in Tokyo all weekend!

In Japan, there are tons of PTO loopholes with different contracting organizations (usually schools or school boards) or companies. I am with a government funded exchange program (a contracting organization), so my PTO is set at 20 days (8 hours each day) starting on August 6th (which is when my contract began). I get New Year’s through the 4th off. There is one national holiday in every month except for June. May has a 3 or 4 day chain of national holidays that almost everyone has off (called “Golden Week”). August has a 2 or 3 day period, called Obon, that almost everyone has off. (That’s kind of remembrance of people who have passed away). I get 20 days of sick leave, and special leave is circumstantially allotted. My program is very generous, but unlike teachers in the US, I do NOT get a spring break or a summer break. I have to take PTO. This year, I’m getting transferred, and I have to use it all because it won’t roll over with my new contract to the new school. Some people on my program have different PTO, but the majority have 20 days, plus all national holidays, as I do. My new school board says that I can use 10 days right away, but must wait until November to use the remaining days. My current school board never stipulated.

*At the moment, I’m working on a big translation project, and I HAVE to stay overtime to finish it. I don’t get any overtime. Ever.

**There are hundreds, or even thousands, of English teaching companies in Japan, and I can only vouch for about 3 of them. From what I know of those 3, employees seem to have 5 paid days off, and 1-2 sick days or no sick days. >_< They don't have to work during the spring and summer vacation days, and because of that, they make a lot less money and get few days off.

Anyway, I'm glad that you caught that error of your PTO being taken out! Yikes. That could have been disastrous down the line!!

Anyway, hope t

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