These ABCs form your strategy for requesting more vacation leave. Use them along with your free copy of the More Vacation Memo Template. For more information, see How to Craft Your Own Vacation Leave Terms.
The average vacation leave in the United States is 10-14 days, or two to three weeks a year.
But if you’ve been with the same employer for 5, 10 or 20+ years—not uncommon among baby boomers—you probably get three to four weeks off annually. (And if you get five weeks or more, count your blessings. You’re way ahead already.)
Whether it’s two, three or four weeks, you’ve concluded it’s not enough to match your time off plans. At this stage of your career game, you want more.
But how many more weeks should you ask for?
Using the average figures noted above as a baseline, here’s my general rule of thumb for negotiating additional vacation leave:
Aim for up to 2 more weeks, totaling no more than 5 weeks. That is:
- if you get 4 weeks a year now, negotiate for one more, to equal 5
- if you get 3 weeks a year now, negotiate for two more, to equal 5
- if you get 2 weeks a year now, negotiate for two more, to equal 4
Why these numbers?
Getting approval of one to two additional weeks is obtainable, while enjoying five weeks away from the office throughout the year is a comfortable stretch beyond the usual.
Spread Your Weeks Throughout the Year
This time off tactic is to be used in chunks, i.e., a week or two here, three weeks (at the most) there, over 12 months. Being sensitive to work coverage issues, you won’t request four or five weeks off at one stretch unless you have a job sharing arrangement or you’re requesting a short-term sabbatical leave.
Your employer may lump all types of leave time into one account. Of course, it’s easier to map out your vacation plans than your illness plans, so this can get tricky. Still, two weeks remains a reasonable amount of additional time to request.