Can My Employer Deny My Vacation Request? Here’s The Answer

Written By Aleena

Vacations season is just around the corner. You might be thinking about taking some time off. However, if you are thinking: can my employer deny my vacation request? We have just the correct answer for you.

Vacations are a great way to relax and unwind. Employees usually need this time to rest and recharge for the following work cycle.

But, if you’re wondering can my employer deny my vacation request, the answer is, unfortunately, yes.

Your employer can refuse your vacation request for any number of reasons.

FMLA Law & Your Vacation Request:

According to FMLA:

Your employer doesn’t have to provide a reason for denying your vacation request.

FMLA is the Family and Medical Leave Act. It is a federal law. It states that employers must provide job-secured leaves (unpaid) if the employees have medical or family reasons.

There are some exceptions to this rule, however. If a union contract covers you.

 Can My Employer Deny My Vacation Request_

Or if your employer has a written policy that allows employees to take vacation time for any reason.

Your employer cannot deny your vacation request. If you have been denied a vacation, it is best to speak with an employment lawyer to see your options.

You may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer for violating FMLA.

But if your company does not come under FMLA, your boss can deny your vacation request anytime.

Common Reasons Why Employers Can Deny Vacation Request

Some common reasons employers might deny vacation requests are:

1. Company Is Too Busy:

The company is too busy and doesn’t have the workforce to cover your absence.

Thus, the boss does not want employees taking vacation time during that time.

Usually, companies are busy around the holiday season or the end of the fiscal year.

Your request might get immediately rejected if you apply in a busy period.

2. Company Policy:

Your employer might have a policy that states:

Employees cannot take vacation time during certain times of the year or for specific reasons.

If you don’t fall under one of the exceptions, your boss will likely deny your request.

3. Insufficient Notice:

If you give insufficient notice before requesting a vacation, your boss might deny it.

Most employers would want at least 2-4 weeks’ notice before an employee takes time off.

Some want at least 2-4 days’ notice before an employee goes on vacation. It is essential to check your company’s policy to know the information required fully.

4. Unused Vacation Time:

Your employer might already have a policy that states:

Employees cannot carry over vacation time from one year to another. The policy “use it or lose it” applies here.

unused vacation

If you have unused vacation time, your boss might deny your request.

Some companies even allow their employees to take a vacation only if they have new vacation time.

5. Request is Unreasonable:

Boss may deny your request if it is unreasonable. For example, you might request to take a month-long vacation in the middle of the busy season.

This would be an unreasonable request, and your boss would likely deny it.

Or you want to have a vacation to coincide with a major work deadline. This would also be considered an unreasonable request.

6. Business Needs:

The company has a business need for the employee to be working during the requested time off.

The company is in the middle of a project, and they need you to stay on to finish it. At this time, the boss will not be able to approve your vacation request.

7. You Joined The Company Not Long Ago:

You haven’t been with the company long enough to qualify for a vacation. Your employer might have a policy that states:

Employees must be with the company for a certain amount of time before they are eligible to take a break.

Usually, that is somewhat after 3-4 months of joining the company.

8. You Are On Probation:

You’re on a probationary period with the company. Thus, your boss does not want to give you vacation time if you leave the company.

Some companies have strict rules during the probationary period. They do not allow their employees to take any time off.

9. You Have Poor Performance:

Your boss has recently accused you of poor performance. Thus, they might be considering firing you.

In this case, your boss will not want to give you vacation time.

They might think you want to switch and are going to other companies for interviews. Thus, they will deny your vacation request.

How To Increase Chances Of Getting The Vacation Request Approved

If you want to increase your chances of getting the approval, try the following:

1. Give Proper Notice:

When you give proper notice, your boss will be able to plan for your absence.

They will have enough time to find a replacement for you, and the project will not be disrupted.


Some employees even arrange a replacement by themselves. That ensures that you are a responsible employee.

Thus, try the technique to impress your boss and get the request approved.

2. Apply During Low-Demand Periods:

If you apply during low-demand periods, your boss will likely approve it.

The company is less busy, and there will be less work for you to do when you come back.

Your boss will have an easier time finding someone to cover your shift. Your boss will not even think twice before granting you the leave.

3. Negotiate Your Vacation Time:

If you are a good employee, your boss might be more willing to negotiate with you about your vacation time.

Try to find out what the company’s policy is and see if there is any wiggle room.

If you are a valued employee, your boss might be more willing to work with you.

4. Make A Good Argument:

When you make a good argument, your boss will be more likely to approve it. Try to highlight the benefits of you taking a vacation.

For example, you can talk about how the break will help you recharge and be more productive when you come back.

You might also mention that other employees are taking vacations without any consequences.

5. Stay Calm And Professional:

When you are requesting vacation time, stay calm and professional.

Do not sound demanding or entitled. Remember that your boss is not obligated to give you the leave.

Be respectful and understand that they might have a valid reason for denying it.

Hopefully, you can increase your chances of getting the leave approved with the tips.

What To Do If Your Employer Denies Your Vacation Request

Sometimes your boss might be a jerk and deny your vacation request for no reason.

In that case, you will have to find another way to take a break. Have a backup plan ready:

1. Leave Of Absence Without Pay:

If you can’t get approval for a vacation, you might want to consider taking a leave of absence without pay.

That way, you will still be able to take some time off, but you will not get paid during that period.

According to the law, you can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave every year.

2. Take A Personal Day:

If you need a day or two off, try taking a personal day. That way, you will not have to use any of your vacation days.

personal day

The difference between a personal day and a vacation is that you cannot use personal days for sick leave.

Moreover, you can only use a personal day if you have worked for the company for at least one year.

3. Take A Leave Of Absence With Pay:

Another option is to take a leave of absence with pay. You will not be working, but you will still get paid.

Paid leaves are usually for a shorter period, such as a few weeks. By law, you only get six weeks of paid leave every year.

The downside is that you might not get paid for a long time if you are out of work for a while.

4. Try Again After Some Time:

If your employer denies your vacation request, it might be a good idea to try again after some time.

Bosses can change their minds, especially if you have a good reason for taking the leave.

Try building up a relationship with your boss. Let them know that you are serious about taking a vacation.

Be professional and understanding when you make the request.

5. Talk To HR:

If you have tried everything and your boss still denies your vacation request, you might want to talk to HR.

They might be able to help you get the leave approved.

Keep in mind that they can only do so much, and ultimately, it is up to your boss whether or not to support it.

6. Quit:

If all else fails, you might want to quit your job. Start looking for a new job that offers better benefits. They might include vacation time.

If that is not an option, try looking for a paid leave job. That way, you can still take some time off without worrying about losing your income.

Just make sure you have another job lined up before quitting your current one.

No matter what your situation is, it is essential to try and plan so you can get the most out of your vacation.


Your employer can deny your vacation request. There are many reasons why they might do this, such as:

– Not having enough staff to cover your work

Budget constraints.

If your boss denies your request, you have several options, such as:

– Taking a leave of absence without pay

– Taking a personal day

– Talking to HR

You can also try again after some time has passed. If all else fails, you might want to quit your job and look for one that offers better benefits.

Last Updated on 3 months by Shahzaib Arshad


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