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 company policy says X number of weeks off. Your new custom-crafted “policy” says X + 2. Now you need your employer to approve that extra time off.
Breaking the constraints of your company’s vacation leave policy requires a strategy that is most likely to get approval.
The suggested strategy I recommend combines two tactics:
A. An accepted Human Resources (HR) practice.
B. Well-crafted positioning (and yes, you’re going to play the
age experience card because it has weight that works).
Purchasing Time Off is a Perk
Several large companies—Xerox is among them—allow employees to buy extra vacation days.
According to an item in the August 13, 2007 issue of Business Week, “…the cost of the extra time is deducted from your pay over the year, often in money-saving pretax dollars.” Who would have thought? Purchasing time off as a perk!
Though your employer may not offer such an arrangement, it probably has something you can use. It’s an accepted HR practice called “leave without pay” (LWOP).
Many companies have formal LWOP policies. Check if your employer is one of them and read it carefully to see how your vacation leave request might apply.
Your aim is to make your petition conform with employer-wide HR practices wherever possible.
So the first half of the strategy you’ll use to boost your annual vacation time is to request leave without pay for the added weeks off. It’s the most expedient path to approval.
What? Without Pay?
Are you having a knee-jerk negative reaction to the “without pay” strategy? Take a look at the broader view:
1. You’re likely in a life phase or career stage where you’re willing to trade money for more time. This is a worthy example of doing just that. Taking two weeks off without pay trades only 4% of your annual salary.
2. You already get some paid vacation leave according to your employer’s policy. And remember, if you deserve them, you should also be regularly asking for merit raises as a way to max your income.
3. If your financial house is in order, e.g., little or no consumer debt, retirement savings (back) on track, following a budget or spending less than you earn as a regular habit, etc., you can afford extra vacation leave without pay.
If you can’t afford to live on 96% of your current income, shift your immediate attention from getting extra vacation leave to building extra savings, with a longer term goal of more time off.
Meanwhile, you might consider a flexible work arrangement that allows for three-day getaways with retention of your full-time income, such as compressed workweek.