DH’s company is going on a break from April-July

So, uh, barring some unexpectedly quick grant turnover (they have a few extant grant proposals out, but it’s unlikely they’ll be funding before July even if they’re accepted), DH’s company is out of money come April.  They will have funding again in July.  So that’s three months of unpaid time off.

My first reaction (this announcement wasn’t completely out of the blue, so any potential shock value had worn off) was, “Yay!”  See, I have a bunch of projects that really need to get done/started, and DH is coauthoring on a couple of things and we could get a LOT of work done in that time.  Papers pushed out the door.  It would be lovely.  I am incredibly selfish.  (Not surprisingly, this has also been the reaction of all of my professional friends that I’ve told.  Apparently we all value our spouse’s time over money…)

The problem, is, of course, that while DH can afford to take a few months off unpaid (or, if he’s willing to look for work, laid off with unemployment), most of his coworkers cannot.  So they’re looking for new employment now and will no doubt find it before July.  The one exception is DH’s direct boss who is in a similar situation to ours– lots of savings, not a lot of expenses, and a high earning wife.  DH’s direct boss is pretty awesome and so DH thinks it will be worthwhile to stick with the company so long as his boss sticks with the company.

This break doesn’t quite overlap with our summer leave (kids get out of school later), but it is also possible that DH (and maybe the rest of us) could spend a couple/few months in a furnished apartment in Paradise (in a crappy school district) doing full-time contract work for one of the major companies in his industry.  DH would probably find that more professionally fulfilling and it would increase the chances he’d be able to work for that company remotely in the future.

So yeah, I am having a hard time seeing a downside to this so long as his boss sticks with the company.  But DH has a hard time with change and doesn’t really want to think about it right now.  He wants to focus on getting his projects done (all of which are due in March) until we know for sure those outstanding grant proposals aren’t getting funded.

If all we cared about was money, DH would be job searching right now, would get laid off, would take unemployment while job searching and I dunno, we might move.  It is nice to have the luxury of being able to take it slow.

It is true that our average monthly spending is greater than my take-home pay (once you adjust for my salary only being for 9 months).  Still, I’m not planning on fiddling with retirement savings– it won’t hurt to turn some of our taxable savings into tax-advantaged savings.  (Plus I’ll be getting a month of summer money which will make up for some of the loss.  I love summer money so much.)  Our emergency fund already takes into account paying for an unpaid summer and we’ve been banking extra cash since the election and will be banking more before DH’s paychecks stop.  I do wonder if we should cut back on the 529 saving, but I’m not sure that we need to at this point.  We will revisit the 529 saving if our plans change.

So… yeah… guess I won’t need to write those posts about what to do with extra money piling up.

28 Responses to “DH’s company is going on a break from April-July”

  1. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    My takeaway on this is: yay for now, assuming his boss sticks around and they do get funded again in July?

    A three month break under your circumstances sounds pretty heavenly. I’d probably sleep for a week. Life goals!

  2. bogart Says:

    Indeed, thank goodness all is OK despite this unexpected (at some stage/in some ways) news and there is a silver lining. Hope you two have a very productive April-July!

  3. Becca Says:

    Well this is excellent news for your financial blogging. It’s much more interesting when there is some discussion of tradeoffs. ( I’d feel bad saying that if there was a real hardship- I don’t mean to be unsupportive! But my own world has been income stream variable for so long I relate to the problems of planning based on incomplete information a lot. )

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Hahaha, yes, I know. Financial blogging is pretty boring when everything is going really well. Given the choice though, I’d rather have boring Monday posts that are irrelevant to most of the population. But alas, for most of us who are first gen upper-middle-class, that is a transitory rather than permanent state. I am really glad we set our big expenses back when we were just out of grad school or we might be up for some hard cuts now.

  4. Leah Says:

    I’m certainly looking forward to my multiple month maternity leave. Only 6 weeks are “paid,” but I get paid over the summer because our paychecks are spread out, so I won’t miss any money because I am on track to only miss 5 weeks of school. If I go all the way until my due date, my husband can also take a week off paid (parental leave is combined between the parents here). While I love my job, I’m really enjoying the two week spring break we’re currently on. I decided not to go anywhere, so it’s mostly been puttering and playing with my kid. I do need to do some planning work this next week to be ready for my remainder of time working (~ 7 weeks).

    So glad that you all are able to having savings to cover this. I agree that most Americans would not — even high earners. But being able to weather unemployment is such an important skill.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I guess if he couldn’t weather it, he’d be getting unemployment for getting laid off because he would be looking for work. We’re going to have to figure all of that stuff out and see if they’ll still be paying his health insurance or if he’s going to have to go on my plan instead.

      Breaks are so wonderful! That’s great that you’re not going to be missing income for your maternity leave.

      • Leah Says:

        I’ve never been able to take unemployment (always contract jobs, so I think I would have been denied). Do you have to look for work the entire time, or is some covered?

        Yes, I feel really lucky about my leave! Hard to say that with only 6 weeks paid; I wish we could do better. But I am grateful I was able to piggyback this with summer vacation, timing-wise. Also grateful for a healthy pregnancy that seems to be going really well.

        I don’t even want to think about health insurance. Biggest headache ever. Does any other country tie health insurance to jobs?

      • Rosa Says:

        you might want to check the unemployment rules for your state, it might be worth taking unemployment during the “break” anyway if he wouldn’t be able to take it later or it would be lower later because of months spent not working. Sometimes people put it off because they don’t feel like they really need it yet, and then when they do need it they’ve messed up their eligibility by not taking it.

  5. Cloud Says:

    It sounds like you guys have a good plan! I know some people who are like DH in hating change. They work in biotech, which means they have to deal with a lot of change! The one I know best has talked to me about it, and he says it helps him to keep reminding himself that he hates change, and that is probably a large part of whatever discomfort he is feeling as he goes through a change. He says that keeps him from making decisions he later regrets just because he was avoiding dealing with the change.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Good advice! DH has kind of come around since first telling me about this. He even sent me an IM apologizing for seeming so gloomy(!) Hopefully this will all work out. It’s easy for me to think this is exciting, but probably not as easy for him since it’s his job and identity and not mine. I don’t know how I’d feel if my job were undergoing such a huge upheaval and his were the secure one.

  6. chacha1 Says:

    That is kind of exciting. :-) The options for the unpaid leave (for lack of a better word) could be really invigorating. I almost wish *I* could get three months’ layoff while my company figures its shit out. Because it really needs to figure its shit out, and I have shit I’d rather be doing.

    p.s. every man I know hates change, in every category except cars and electronics.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      If only it were paid leave!

      I am glad that I’ve been saving for summer as if he weren’t getting paid, because I’m also not going to be getting paychecks for a couple of those months.

    • xykademiqz Says:

      p.s. every man I know hates change, in every category except cars and electronics.

      LOL! Kinda true. My husband is like that, as were multiple former boyfriends. My eldest kid, too. Middle boy, however, definitely not afraid of change. So it seems that there may be a small minority who aren’t change averse. Or maybe only when little! :-)

    • Leah Says:

      I think some of us women hate change too ;-) my therapist called it “adjustment anxiety.” In my mind, it’s because I’m a planner, and I really like to know what to anticipate, so unknown change greatly bothers me.

  7. First Gen American Says:

    So, when I was little, my mom would get laid off periodically for a couple of weeks and then they’d rehire her. It was like a furlough, but she was able to collect unemployment during that time because it was a layoff. What was the reason again DH couldn’t collect unemployment during this time? There is no guarantee that he will get re-hired is there? Is there a contract he already has for July?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I’ll look again, but when I looked into it he had to be looking for work. I’ll check to see if there’s a recall provision.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Some more searching has found that different states deal with temporary layoffs differently… it looks like DH should contact our state office to figure out what their rules are when there’s a temporary layoff, and it may make a difference if there’s a set date to return or not. And I don’t know if there’s a set return date or not… In any case, he can figure this out during his first week of unemployment!

      Thanks for pushing me on that!

    • Rosa Says:

      oops! I should have read all the comments before I commented. He can totally figure this out the first week!

  8. SP Says:

    I hate change too (unless it was my idea), but glad to hear he is coming around to your optimism and ideas! I love the idea of a few months off unpaid, although I can see it would be nice to have the security of definitely starting back up at a specific date.

  9. Linda Says:

    Hooray for savings! Despite having an EF that should take me through 8 months with no income, I’d be freaking out if I knew I had no income for several months. Curious about what you mean in this comment “…for most of us who are first gen upper-middle-class, that is a transitory rather than permanent state.” Do you mean because you don’t have family that can help out?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:


      For those of us who don’t come from a long line of wealthy parents, we’re more likely to just be in the higher income brackets temporarily because one or both members of a couple lucked out with a really high-paying job. Then someone loses a job and has to take a job that pays less. I don’t have the citation, but I saw these results at a couple of conferences last year. I think Til von Wachter has some related work. Basically there’s a lot of volatility in income among people whose parents aren’t also in the top percentiles (presumably meaning they’re well connected?)

  10. So I guess DH will be working in April now? Maybe May? | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

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