In the past few weeks, I’ve heard a couple stories from friends who wanted to use some of their accrued vacation time, but ran into approval issues when it came to actually requesting the time off.
Two Vacation Requests
In one case, my friend wanted a single day off to attend to some personal business and was given a hard time about it. There was no specific reason given as to why the company didn’t want him to take off, but it was made clear to him that approving his vacation request was a favor.
Another friend requested time off to take a two week vacation with her husband. She had saved up her vacation for this big trip and had more than enough time to take off the two weeks, but was getting some resistance from her supervisor. A week would have been doable, but two weeks was too much. There was obviously nothing in the company rules prohibiting vacations longer than a week, it was simply inconvenient for the team to have to pick up the slack for that long.
When Rejecting Vacation Requests Is OK
There are certain situations where it’s reasonable for an employer to deny a vacation request. If there is not enough notice, it can cause short-term issues. If others have requested off at the same time, there are staffing issues to consider. There have to be the right number of people to handle the workload, and if everyone takes off Christmas week, there might not be enough people left to handle the customer inquiries.
Why Most Vacation Requests Should Be Approved
Other than some specific situations, I think it’s ridiculous not to allow employees to use their vacation time. Whether they want to use one day each month or take 2 weeks off at once should be the employee’s decision to make. Especially if it’s done with enough lead time, people can make adjustments. Having an employee out of work is not going to make it easier, but just like employees need to make changes based on employer needs, companies need to adjust to their employee’s commitments. The employee made an adjustment and didn’t take any time off for an extended period of time, the employee has the right to take his accrued vacation time in a way that fits his schedule.
If you can’t take a vacation day without feeling guilty, where’s the trade-off? Employees work for their employers, and return get certain benefits, including vacation days. There shouldn’t be much negotiation about when they’re allowed to be taken or for how long. The way I think about it is if you’re the employer, if you request time off, maybe the employee will simply leave the company? In that case, the employer is usually responsible for paying the employee for the time off, and in the end, they’ll be left without a full trained employee, so it’s a very big risk to reject these types of requests
The Unintended Consequence of Denying Vacation Time
Not allowing employees to use vacation time they’ve accrued probably has an unintended consequence: more sick days. If an employer isn’t allowing employees to take vacation time, they’re probably more likely to have an unannounced day off. Think about it: if you ask for time off and they deny you, you have no other options. But if you don’t ask and are “sick” that day, you can’t really get in trouble, right? I’m glad I’m not in that position, but I wonder if it happens.
Have you ever had a hard time taking vacation time you accrued fairly?