General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Boss Grants Time Off, Then Denies 3 Weeks before Int'l Travel *UPDATE*

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Months ago, I mentioned to my boss that DH wanted to take me on a vacation to very-cool-destination.  I put in a formal request for the time-off and heard nothing for several weeks.  Some coworkers mentioned this is how it's done at our company and you'd only hear something if it was refused.  At a meeting last week, my boss's boss announced to everyone that all time-off requests were approved at this point but going forward there might be more restrictions on who could take time off and when.  That's fine by me.

DH buys the tickets, reserves the hotel room, etc. for our trip.  We have friends scheduled to meet us halfway through the trip.  Everything is going great.

Just now my boss called me into her office and told me that she couldn't approve my time off because I haven't yet accumulated the PTO hours (old policy was a lump sum of hours given to employees at the start of the year.  New policy is you have to accumulate it every year).  Our corporate policy is that you can in fact take time-off before you've accumulated it with the expectation that you "pay it back" by continuing to work.  If you leave the company, you have to pay them back the difference.

I really think she just didn't bother to look at my request until now, which is way too late to rebook the vacation (and our friends' vacation).  Am I right to think this is just unprofessional?  I am livid myself but won't react or say a word to my boss, not yet.

I think you can ask for a special exception.  Point out that you submitted the form in XX, and at the meeting you were told it was approved and acting on that bookings nad deposits have been paid.

Hopefully they'll understand.

It seems like the big boss's statement at the meeting overrides her refusal, unless there's any chance you misunderstood it.  For example, could he have said that all approved time off requests would stand?  If so, since yours was never approved, it might fall into a gray area.  (I realize there's some confusion on their approval process, but I'm not sure you can assume it was approved if this wasn't confirmed somehow).

But if you're sure he worded it that way, I'd tell her this and that you made your plans based on it.

I'd be livid too.

I'd tell your boss that based on her previous statement that all time off submitted had been approved and that your request was submitted prior to the new policy, you'd like her to use the company policy of borrowing time again future PT. And let her know you've already made non-refundable reservations.

Honestly, she doesn't sound very professional so I wonder if she is even aware the company policy allows for borrowing time. Maybe talk with HR first to clarify.

I've got a lot of issues with this job but denying PTO even after approving it seems to be standard operating procedure around here.  They threatened to do it at Christmas 2013 but didn't follow through and a LOT of people were gone, creating chaos for those who remained. 

My boss is not the most professional person (she physically struck another coworker during a temper-tantrum a few months back) but she did tell me the decision comes from her boss (who is usually professional).  And the caveat to our "take-PTO-before-you've-earned-it" policy is that of course you have to get your boss/supervisor's approval. 

DH has been bugging me for months to find a new job.  This is just the last nail in the coffin.


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