Can we use a lottery to set our vacation schedule?

Q. I know it’s early, but last summer we had lots of conflicts over who could take vacation during certain weeks, with several people demanding time off around holidays. I want to use a lottery system to allocate vacation time. Is this legal? — V.T., Georgia

A. Assuming you don’t have a collective bargaining agreement or some other contract that imposes restrictions on how vacations are to be determined, this would be fine in most states. Reason: Because most states recognize vacation benefits are voluntary, so employers are free to define the parameters of the policy in whatever manner they deem reasonable.

Although summer is a ways off, because it can take time to implement changes, there’s no time like the present to start making revisions to the policy and communicating them to employees.

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