Getting The Time Off You Deserve

Photo: Concord90

Let’s face it. The American workplace values dedication, but it often takes things too far, while not reciprocating what it demands every time. As a result, if you feel a bit of guilt about taking time off, don’t. Whether it’s to be used for an emergency, vacation, or even a break to unwind, time off is valuable. In fact, not only can using your time off make you a better employee but even lead to a healthier lifestyle. More productivity while you’re at work, less stress and work at home, there’s plenty to use. Yet only 77% of people in America are fully using their time off. In addition, vacation days are approaching a historical low.

Why this is the case is an article in and of itself, but we can surmise is that even with opportunities to take time away from work, people won’t use it. This article will cover the two main components of time off from work:

  1. Keeping abreast of what you’ve earned.
  2. Making sure you don’t cause issues with work when you get back.

The Lay Of The Land

Note that technically, most organizations are not required to provide vacation, paid or unpaid, for their employees. At the same time, most employers will put together some sort of vacation package. After all, you need to appeal to potential talent if you want a business to grow. The same applies to sick leave, with the exception of a few jurisdictions. What this does mean, though, is that each company’s approach to time off will be different. The best thing you can do is speak to your human resources department or whoever is responsible for your duties. They will let you know how much time off (paid or unpaid) you have, as well as how it is earned. Some companies let you accrue it, while others provide you with a flat amount for a certain period of time. Know the policies inside and out to make sure that you’re not missing out on time you may have earned.

There are also a few things to keep in mind regarding how your employer responds to your request. For example, there are no laws regulating how much your employer contacts you on vacation. In addition, they can also revoke said time off anytime, even if you get formally approved. With this said, there’s a common thread at work here. Many employers have the option to do so but often would avoid it in hopes of retaining talent and keeping them happy. Still, emergencies may happen.

Working With Your Employer

We mentioned before that there is little legal control regarding employers and how they handle your time off requests. In general, this means you may need to do a little clever talking to get your requests approved.  For the most part, especially if you are taking a day off for a mental health day or something similar, vagueness is the way to go. All you need to do is cite personal business. Mentioning something like a family illness can sound like a good idea, but what if you bring said relative to the Christmas party and get confronted with your lie?

Some people may recommend using various tools if you’re stuck against the wall, like a doctors note. Finding a doctors note template to put together isn’t difficult, but if you want to go this route, keep these things in mind.

A: Be sure you find one that fits both your needs and your medical history.

B: Don’t go to this well too often, as the more you use it, the less effective it is.

C: In general, treat these as a last resort if you need a mental health day with little notice or something similar. Time off when you need it makes you a better employee, but don’t jeopardize your job.

At the end of the day, when it comes to your time off, the best thing you can keep in your mind is that you deserve it. Like any other perk or benefit of your job, you’ve earned it. Putting it into practice may take a little bit of work, but you will ultimately be a better, more relaxed worker in the end. This is something anyone in any field can appreciate.


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