Use it or get paid for it…

April 12, 2005

For as long as I’ve been working — at least for large companies — there’s been a pretty standard practice when it comes to vacation time: use it or lose it. If you can’t find the time to take a vacation or don’t have the interest or whatever, you lose the days. No ifs, ands or buts. But Bowater Inc. (BOW) is taking a somewhat different approach. Executives who don’t use all of their vacation time can apparently sell it back to the company, according to the proxy filed last week. It’s not the amounts that are so eye-popping. Chairman and CEO Arnold Nemirow made $18,000 from his unused vacation time — a fraction of his $942K salary; Senior VP Patrick Duffy received around $8,200. But it does call into question how many other Bowater employees can also cash in their unused vacation time. And it’s another example of how creative executives can get when it comes to their own bottom lines.

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