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Your time is valuable: Here is how to negotiate for more at work



When Maryam Sabbagh was negotiating to join a new PR agency last fall, she was not just thinking about the money.

She considered something even more important: Time.

If the COVID era has taught us anything, it is the precious value of downtime. So Sabbagh negotiated another week of paid vacation, taking her to three weeks a year.

“Two weeks of vacation is standard in this country at most companies, and it’s just not enough,” says Sabbagh, who hopes to eventually use her time off to visit bucket-list destinations like Kenya or Brazil. “People are becoming much more thoughtful than they used to be about time, paid leave and mental health.”

This is where the so-called Great Resignation is working in your favor. Around four million Americans are leaving their jobs every month as people reshuffle their life and career priorities, and new opportunities flourish in such a tight job market.

That means your negotiating position is stronger – not just when it comes to salary but also in terms of time away from work.

“People are telling me, ‘What I need more than anything else this year is time off,’ ” says Alexandra Carter, a professor at Columbia Law School and author of “Ask For More.”

More companies are warming up to the idea. According to a Great Resignation survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, 14% of firms are implementing new or additional paid-time-off opportunities for employees to help reduce turnover. And the percentage of companies extending “unlimited” time off is up from 12% to 17% in just one year, according to a study by total rewards firm WorldatWork.

Firms are doing so not just as an empathetic response, but because it makes business sense. The last thing any company needs right now is a burned-out employee – or a staffer who leaves and has to be replaced, which can be a lengthy and costly process.

“Numerous mental and physical health outcomes are tied to hours worked, time spent with family and friends, time spent doing recreation, and amount of sleep,” says Joe Sanok, a podcaster, productivity researcher, and author of the new book “Thursday is the New Friday.” “Strengthening these bonds and avoiding burnout can help employees value their positions, stay longer, and do more productive work.”

How can you negotiate a little more precious time for yourself? Here are four tips from the experts:


In any time negotiation, there are typical push-back questions, such as who will handle your workload. Go into that conversation with ready-made answers, like having a deputy trained and ready to assume those projects.

And structure your proposed time off in a way that is most palatable to your employer: Perhaps having Fridays or a slower time of the month off is more acceptable than taking larger chunks.

“If you help solve any problems before they even come up, then it will be that much easier for them to say yes,” says Carter.


It might feel awkward to be asking for more time before you have even set foot in your new company. But that is exactly when your negotiating position is the most powerful, especially with labor so scarce.

“It is probably 80% easier to do this when you are first getting a job, versus when you already have one,” Sabbagh says. “It’s been my experience that it can be difficult to negotiate unless you have other offers on the table.”


Negotiating for more time is just the first step; the next step is to actually take advantage of those extra days. But many Americans seem to have a problem with that: perhaps because of fears that we will fall behind, or be found to be expendable.

According to a survey by HR consultancy Mercer, only 42% of respondents report that most of their employees take all their allotted time off.


Maybe you have been dreaming of a few more vacation days here and there. But why not think even bigger than that?

“You could also negotiate for a sabbatical, which is a longer period of time like a month or two,” says Carter.

Such extended pauses are standard in some areas like academia, but are popping up in other fields as well – and might be something to inquire about when weighing job offers.

“Companies that are generous in offering time off are going to see substantial bumps in both recruitment and retention,” Carter says.


(Editing by Lauren Young and Bernadette Baum; Follow us @ReutersMoney or at


Supreme Court of Canada to rule on sentencing for Quebec City mosque shooter



OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada is slated to rule Friday on the sentencing of a man who went on a deadly shooting spree at a Quebec City mosque.

The decision in Alexandre Bissonnette’s case will determine the constitutionality of a key provision on parole eligibility in multiple-murder convictions.

As a result, it will also reverberate far beyond the case before the court.

In March 2021, a judge found Alek Minassian guilty of 10 counts of first-degree murder, three years after he smashed into people with a van on a busy Toronto sidewalk. The judge decided to delay sentencing until after the Supreme Court decision.

At issue is the tension between society’s denunciation of such horrific crimes and the notion of rehabilitation as a fundamental value in sentencing.

Bissonnette pleaded guilty to six charges of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder in the January 2017 mosque assault that took place just after evening prayers.

In 2019, Bissonnette successfully challenged a 2011 law that allowed a court, in the event of multiple murders, to impose a life sentence and parole ineligibility periods of 25 years to be served consecutively for each murder.

A judge found the provision unconstitutional but saw no need to declare it invalid and instead read in new wording that would allow a court to impose consecutive periods of less than 25 years.

Ultimately, the judge ruled Bissonnette must wait 40 years before applying for parole.

Quebec’s Court of Appeal agreed that the sentencing provision violated Charter of Rights guarantees of life, liberty and security of the person, as well as freedom from cruel or unusual punishment.

“Parliament’s response to the problem identified is so extreme as to be disproportionate to any legitimate government interest,” the Appeal Court said.

“The judge was therefore right to conclude that the scope of the provision is clearly broader than necessary to achieve the objectives of denunciation and protection of the public.”

The Appeal Court, however, said the judge erred in making the ineligibility period 40 years.

It declared the sentencing provision constitutionally invalid and said the court must revert to the law as it stood before 2011, meaning the parole ineligibility periods are to be served concurrently — resulting in a total waiting period of 25 years in Bissonnette’s case.

The Court of Appeal noted there is no guarantee the Parole Board would grant Bissonnette parole in 25 years.

“This will depend on the circumstances at the time, including the appellant’s level of dangerousness, his potential for rehabilitation and the manner in which his personality has evolved,” the court said.

“Furthermore, as with any parole, if it is granted, it will include the necessary conditions for adequately ensuring the security of the public, failing which it will not be granted.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.


Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press

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Minke whale carcass found northeast of Montreal is likely one seen near city: expert



MONTREAL — A dead whale found in the St. Lawrence River northeast of Montreal is probably one of two minke whales seen near the city earlier this month, a marine researcher said Thursday.

Robert Michaud, president of a Quebec marine mammal research group, said experts have yet to examine the carcass found in Contrecoeur, Que., about 50 kilometres downstream from Montreal.

Michaud said a necropsy could be performed depending on that assessment, adding that the task would fall to veterinary medicine students at Université de Montréal.

Two minke whales were spotted this month near Montreal, and there were concerns for their well-being, as they were about 450 kilometres upstream of their usual range.

Minke whales are common in Quebec but don’t generally venture west of the saltwater St. Lawrence estuary around Tadoussac, Que.

Ronald Gosselin, one of the fishermen behind the discovery on Thursday morning, said he was in his boat fishing when he saw a bizarre shape in the water.

“In my life, I’ve seen maybe two or three whales, including one that beached in Contrecoeur,” Gosselin said.

A local fishing guide, Gosselin, 66, said whales are not a common sight in the area. He spotted the mammal floating in the St. Lawrence River near Île Saint-Ours.

The two Montreal whales had not been seen since mid-May.

It’s unclear why whales occasionally venture into freshwater habitats, but Michaud has said there isn’t much that can be done to help them besides hoping they turn around and head home.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.


The Canadian Press

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Murray Sinclair honoured with Order of Canada at Rideau Hall ceremony



OTTAWA — Murray Sinclair received the Order of Canada Thursday for dedicating his life to championing Indigenous Peoples’ rights and freedoms.

Sinclair held his wife’s hand as the award was announced in Rideau Hall, and was met with a standing ovation as he rose to receive it.

Gov. Gen. Mary Simon presented Sinclair with the award at the ceremony, which was held several months after it was announced he would receive the honour.

By accepting the award, Sinclair wanted to show the country that working on Indigenous issues calls for national attention and participation, he said in an interview.

Sinclair, 71, said at his age he has begun to reflect on his life, and he realizes that he’s had both the joy and sadness that comes with participating in this work.

Receiving the award recognizes the importance of that work, and can act as inspiration for younger people, Sinclair said.

“When I speak to young people, I always tell them that we all have a responsibility to do the best that we can and to be the best that we can be,” he said.

Sinclair led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which investigated the experiences of Indigenous children sent to residential schools.

Sinclair said it was a particular honour to receive the award from Simon, the first Indigenous Governor General, as she is a good friend and was an honorary witness to the commission.

“As an Indigenous person, we had a unique relationship. And I think we brought it to what happened here today,” he said.

The former senator is a highly respected voice on matters of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

The Order of Canada is one of the country’s highest distinctions, for those who have made exceptional contributions to Canadian society.

Sinclair also received the Meritorious Service Cross for his role in overseeing the Truth and Reconciliation commission and producing the final report.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.


Erika Ibrahim, The Canadian Press

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