Time away from work can be extremely helpful for maintaining a healthy work/life balance. GitLab encourages managers and leadership to set the example by taking time off when needed, and ensuring their reports do the same.
Taking time off is not a selfish behavior. Not only is time away from work aligned with GitLab's sub-value Family and friends first, work second, but it is vital to maintaining mental health. It is also a core part of the creative process.
It is so important to take time off to recharge batteries and refresh the mind so you can come back to GitLab with renewed energy and be prepared to do your best work ever!
This page is written with a focus on vacation. If taking time off for medical needs, whether physical or mental, you should follow the appropriate process in your location. If missing more than 25 days of work due to medical requirements, you should move onto Short Term Disability, or the equivalent in your location. However, the below recommendations on communicating your time off apply to time off for all reasons where possible and avoid concerns of health, safety, or job abandonment.
A support engineer remarked that “In the 3 months I've been at GitLab, I've taken more time off than the last 2 years at my previous job.”
Another great example of taking time off is a GitLab team member taking a day to do some spring cleaning. Vacations don't have to be trips to exotic places, but instead could be taking some time for oneself at home.
If you are taking Parental Leave, please see our Parental Leave Policy.
As we all work remotely it can sometimes be difficult to know when and how to plan time off. Here is some advice and guidance on how this can be done in an easy and collaborative way.
What is this OOO for?please clarify that this day is taken in lieu of the actual holiday date.
email@example.com your specific request and People Operations Specialists will complete your request, per the instructions. Events can only be changed after the PTO Ninja event has completed itself.
Communicate broadly when you will be away so other people can manage time efficiently, projects don't slip through the cracks, and so that you don't get bothered while away.
OOO from YYYY-MM-DD to YYYY-MM-DD, please contact XXX for assistance.
OOOto your status message will keep you from appearing in the reviewer roulette.
helpto indicate which weeks you won't be able to participate. Pairings will automatically resume when you’re back.
In the unfortunate event that a team member is dealing with a medical situation, they are under no obligation to reveal details to their manager directly. Instead, you can reach out to the Total Rewards team. The Total Rewards team will inform the People Business Partner and Manager on need-to-know basis.
If the team member does choose to start the conversation about accommodations in the US or accommodations in the EU needed with the manager, we would ask the manager to reach out to the People Business Partner aligned with their division. The People Business Partner will inform the Total Rewards Team.
The manager should under no circumstances reveal any illness related leave to other team members to ensure we respect the privacy of the team member affected.
Emergencies, by definition are unexpected. They can range from natural disasters, terrorist events, accidents, family deaths, hospitalization and any other unexpected situation. During these times we ask team members to use their best judgement as well as listen to and adhere to public safety officials when possible. If an unexpected emergency occurs please contact your manager via Slack or email as soon as possible if you will be unavailable or unable to work. This will allow your manager to confirm your safety and reassign any critical work during your absence. If you do not have an emergency contact in BambooHR please go ahead and complete that section. We will only contact that person if we are unable to reach you via Slack, email or phone.
Team members may request an unpaid leave of absence by working with their manager to obtain approval. A manager has the discretion to not approve a leave based on performance issues or critical deadlines. All requests must be approved by the function Vice President and comply with all local laws. Please follow the process for initiating an unpaid leave request to Peopleops.
In PTO Ninja, you have the ability to choose Other types of OOO categories, listed above. When you choose one of these categories, they are self-approved and do not count as PTO. You can choose them for an hour or more and they will be added to your calendar and Slack status at the time your OOO is effective. This is an easy way to communicate your status without manually updating both your calendar and your Slack status.
This process is for events that are part of work but where you may be away from your computer, such as a Conference or a Customer Visit. You may also have Mandatory Civilian Service, which does not count as PTO.
Then there are the day-to-day tasks that come up (such as Family Time, Self Care, Workout, Homeschooling and the general Away from Screen) that should not disrupt a workday in the sense that these OOO categories should not prevent or take away from a regular work load and will not need additional backup or support from another team member or team members. If you need to take a half day or full day to do things listed in these categories, that is PTO and at that time you will need to submit a PTO request.
PTO Ninja allows employees and managers to coordinate time off seamlessly with intuitive Slack commands. The integration from Slack and BambooHR automatically monitors PTO balances and takes action; PTO Ninja will automatically add any time off taken for sick and vacation accruals to BambooHR. PTO Ninja also reminds employees of their upcoming time off and helps them assign roles and tasks for co-workers, giving all parties involved greater alignment and peace of mind.
Please be aware that new team members' PTO Ninja accounts are activated and synched automatically once a day, so if you try to access PTO Ninja on your first day and receive an error message, please attempt to access PTO Ninja on Day 2. If you still receive an error message, let your assigned People Ops Specialist know in your onboarding issue.
/ninja oooCreate an OOO event.
/ninja meView your OOO dashboard to edit, add or remove OOO events.
/ninja whosoutSee upcoming OOO for everyone in the channel where this command is used.
/ninja @usernameCheck if a particular person is OOO and if they are, see which of your co-workers are covering for them.
/ninja feedbackThis is your direct line to support. At any time, use this command to report bugs or share your thoughts on how the product can be improved or what’s working well.
/ninja helpA top-level look at PTO Ninja items that you may need help with, and how to receive help.
/ninja settingsThis is where you modify your profile and calendar settings. This is also where you opt-in and out-put for reminders, including monthly messages prompting you to consider what PTO you may take this month.
PTO Ninja allows you to sync time off requests with your Google Calendar.
PTO Ninja can automatically set your OOO status in Slack and apply “Do Not Disturb” settings while you’re away. You must add these permissions individually.
PTO Ninja provides an experience that allows you to set roles and tasks for co-workers while you’re away. Accepted roles then become a part of a Slack away message that appears as co-workers try to tag you in discussions while you’re OOO.
You can bulk add holidays based on your region and then modify them manually if needed. Any Public Holidays added to PTO Ninja in your dashboard will not auto-set an OOO event for you, you will still need to create an OOO event if observing that holiday. To add a Public Holiday, follow the below instructions.
/ninja mein Slack
Upcoming OOOdropdown menu
Bulk Add By Region
We get it — life gets busy. So busy, in fact, that you may need a little nudge to consider taking time off to recharge. PTO Ninja allows you to subscribe (and unsubscribe) to a monthly prompt, sent on the first working day of each month, reminding you to pause and think about time away from work and prioritizing mental health.
The reminder will read as follows.
Hi there! Have you thought about what days you may take off this month? 🌴⛰️ We want to make sure you stay healthy! If you feel like you can’t reasonably take time off, feel welcome to add this note to your next 1:1 with your manager and discuss further. Learn more about paid time off at GitLab:
To subscribe or unsubscribe, follow the below instructions and see an associated screenshot.
Appsin the menu bar within Slack, and search for or select PTO Ninja
Considering GitLab has a no ask time off policy, it can be helpful to know who else on your team is out of office prior to requesting time. In order to see who is out of your team, follow the steps below:
Who's Out?from the dropdown list
new searchto view who is out by
You can request a new PTO Ninja feature by using the aforementioned
/ninja feedback command in Slack. If you receive feedback from the PTO Ninja team, or a new feature is implemented, please document the discussion in this GitLab issue. You can also create an issue in the People Group general project and ping CEO Kevin Corliss
@pto-ninja and CTO Doug Franklin
@doug17 for review.
Managers have a duty of care towards their direct reports in managing their wellbeing and ensuring that time off is being taken. Sometimes, when working remotely from home, a good work-life balance can be difficult to find. It is also easy to forget that your team is working across multiple time zones, so some may feel obligated to work longer to ensure there is overlap. It is important that you check-in with your reports through one-to-ones, and if you think someone needs some time off let them know they can do this.
If you discover that multiple people in your team want to be off at the same time, see what the priorities are, review the impact to the business, and use your best judgement. Discuss this with your team so you can manage the time off together. It is also a good idea to remind your team to give everyone an early heads-up, if possible, about upcoming vacation plans.
overrideoption in Admin Tools and type the name of the team member you need to perform the override for.
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It is important for us to take a step back to recognize and acknowledge the feeling of being "burned out". We are not as effective or efficient when we work long hours, miss meals or forego nurturing our personal lives for sustained periods of time. If you feel that you or someone on your team may be experiencing burnout, be sure to address it right away.
To get ahead of a problem, be sure to communicate with your manager if any of the following statements ever apply to you:
These and similar symptoms might get missed or disimissed, as people who are on the path to burnout, or who are burnt out, are usually unable to spend the mental energy to recognize it in themselves. Having an external source objectively identify the situation can be helpfull. A great tool for objectively recognizing burn out is https://burnoutindex.org.
If someone is showing signs of burnout, they should take time off to focus on things that are relaxing and improve their overall health and welfare.
As a manager, it is your task to evaluate your team's state of mind. Address possible burnout by discussing options with your team member to manage contributing stressors and evaluate the workload. Some things to help with this:
Other tips to avoid burnout include:
Don't let burnout creep up on you. Working remotely can allow us to create bad habits, such as working straight through lunch to get something finished. Once in a while this feels good, perhaps to check that nagging task or big project off the list, but don't let this become a bad habit. Before long, you'll begin to feel the effects on your body and see it in your work.
Keep in mind that you are not alone! Chances are that you have a colleague who already experienced burnout or has been on the road to burnout. Schedule coffee calls with your team members or with anyone you'd like to talk to. Talk to your manager. If none of that is an option for you, schedule a coffee call with Marin.
Take care not to burn yourself out!
The following is a list of all statutory annual vacation entitlements by entity and country. Once the statutory amounts have been taken, employees can still make use of GitLab's No Ask Time Off policy.
|Policy Locations||Statutory Minimum Vacation Time||Statutory Minimum Vacation Pay|
|All of Canada (except SK, QC)||2 weeks after 1 year / 3 weeks after 5 years||4% for the first 5 years, 6% after 5 years|
|Quebec Only||3 weeks after 1 year and going forward||6% for the first 9 years, 8% after 9 years|
|Saskatchewan Only||3 weeks after 1 year / 4 weeks after 10 years||6% for the first 9 years, 8% after 9 years|
Note: In January, People Ops will adjust any negative carryover back to zero, for all accruals in BambooHR for the year. To do this go to Time Off, Adjust Balance, and add any extra days.
It's important to acknowledge that returning to work after parental leave can be difficult. Even with smooth reentries, life and work interplay differently when one adds another member to their family. Everyone transitions differently, and the impact on an individual varies depending on role, as well as a litany of personal factors.
You can learn more about parental leave and how to apply in the Benefits section of the GitLab Handbook.
GitLab team members compiled tips in a four-part blog series, linked below, looking at an array of issues surrounding working remotely with children. These shed light on parental leave policies worldwide, provide an inside view of working at GitLab with a newborn, and highlight strategies for working remotely with older children.
Tips from GitLab team members are the greater community are below, as well as how each aligns with at least one of GitLab's values.
What has worked for me is to integrate GitLab into my life, and not the other way around. I set very clear boundaries in my calendar of when is work time and when is family time. Per GitLab's recommendation, my calendar is viewable by anyone and clearly has time for:
kids test prep,
visual therapy for one,
judo pick-upand other appointments I have outside of work. This prevents team members from scheduling over these instances.
If someone does schedule over family time or personal time, I feel confident to decline, unless it is very urgent and I'm blocking it (I always suggest a new time first, before using family time for a meeting). I am also inclined to say that if folks keep scheduling outside of your work time, to make sure you respond back and highlight that, and check if you can find an alternative time that works for both of you. — Nadia V.
When I joined GitLab, it was great to see things in people's calendars like
homework with kids,
date night, etc. Part of onboarding was coffee chats so I saw these “meetings” on calendars as I tried to schedule chats. It reinforced our family first sub-value, and also normalized these activities. It helped me understand that I could set up similar boundaries and not sacrifice bed time or something similar just to have an empty hour on my calendar. — Seth B.
Seth's recommendation ties to a sub-value of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging : Family and friends first, work second.
The hardest part of coming back from parental leave has been getting caught up/reintegrating with the GitLab team while sleep deprived. I recommend taking to heart the
don't worryportion of GitLab's guide to paid time off, which states: "You don't need to worry about taking time off to go to the gym, take a nap, go grocery shopping, do household chores, help someone, take care of a loved one, etc. If you have urgent tasks, but something comes up or takes longer than expected, just ensure the rest of the team knows and someone can pick up the tasks (assuming you're able to communicate)." — Jonathan S.
Jonathan's recommendation adds a layer of nuance to Accepting Uncertainty, a sub-value of Results. It also touches on Give agency, a sub-value of Collaboration, which empowers team members to focus on what they think is most beneficial.
Take advantage of GitLab's bias towards asynchronous communication. A child's schedule shifts rapidly, and I've found it useful to structure my days around my son's routine rather than force him to operate on a rigid timeline. Being a part of a 100% remote team empowers team members to embrace work/life harmony in whatever way suits them. Moreover, it's liberating to be able to shift when and where I work depending on the needs of my family.
It's important to talk about family. For a company to sustain a culture that embraces parents and empathizes with the associated needs, these realities must be shared in the open and not allowed to become taboo. — Darren M.
Parents at GitLab are encouraged to join the
#intheparenthood Slack channel to share tips, photos, and stories, and make a merge request to add contributions to this page.
Returning to work after parental leave can be jarring if you're attempting to jump immediately back to 100%. Not only has your life changed dramatically with the expansion of your family, but you're reintegrating into a working world that has continued to progress in your absence. Merely catching up with months of work is a challenge unto itself, even without a new family member.
To alleviate the stress associated with returning to work after parental leave, GitLab supports team members coming back at 50% capacity for as long as needed. The general guideline for this is two to four weeks, but we recognize that each reentry situation should be treated as a unique case to be discussed between the team member and their manager. The 50% figure should be viewed as a guide rather than an inflexible rule. Some team members may feel comfortable ramping more quickly, and that is OK.
This provides space for a team member to test out life adjustments and iterate further without feeling overwhelmed by a full workload. For instance, if a prearranged daycare solution turns out to be suboptimal, this 50% capacity window empowers a parent to iterate — to find a different solution with the air cover at work to put in the appropriate amount of research and care.
Some team members might want to work part-time for a longer time period or even forever. Please see GitLab's Part-time contracts page to learn more.
Parents at GitLab who are reentering work following parental leave are encouraged to reach out to team members who self-designate as a Parental Leave Reentry Buddy.
You can find this designation on a person's profile on the Team page, and consider asking in the
#intheparenthood Slack channel.
If you're interested in volunteering as a parental leave reentry buddy, add the following information to your
... department: ... - Parental Leave Reentry buddy expertise: ... <li><a href="/handbook/people-group/general-onboarding/parental-leave-buddy/">Parental Leave Reentry buddy</a></li>