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How to Deny an Employee Summer Vacation Request

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

For bosses and employers, every spring and summer and holiday season, it's the same old thing. Employees either have children in school, or don't want to let go of their school years. It's that time of year when all your employees are vying for the same vacation time.

Unfortunately, there are going to be times when an employer is going to have to deny a vacation request. This can often be difficult as employees can truly be upset when they are denied the ability to use their accrued vacation time.

Here are three tips to help you deny an employee's vacation request:

1. Have a Clear Policy And Follow It

Employers are permitted to implement their own vacation time policies. This not only applies to the process by which requests are approved, but also in terms of how much vacation can be taken at any given time. So long as the policies are not discriminatory, employers are even free to restrict vacation during busy seasons, holidays, and other times of year, when it's reasonable. All out vacation blackouts can sometimes be necessary, but should be used consistently across all levels.

When there is a policy in place, following that policy is essential. If you follow your policy, and your policy is clear, your employees will at least have a better understanding of why their request was denied.

2. Tell Them Quickly

If you are going to deny an employee's vacation request, do it as quickly as possible. If plans need to be re-arranged, providing the employee with as much time as possible is courteous, and will lead to a less hostile situation. Offering suggestions for when the employee's request would be approved can be helpful.

3. Offer to Compromise

If a request made according to policy cannot be accommodated due to business constraints, or lack of staffing, discuss this matter with your employee. Minimally, you can suggest better times for them to take time off that would be approved.

Additionally, there may be legal issues if your employees cannot take advantage of earned vacation time. In this situation, you may be able to offer additional vacation time in exchange for delay, or to pay an employee their vacation time in money as a bonus. However, in this scenario, you should consult your attorney to ensure a valid agreement is drafted and signed.

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