Can My Paid Time Off Get Denied?

Posted June 13th, 2024.

Categories: Blog.

man in vacation gear in his living room

When an employee is given paid time off (PTO) in the form of sick days and vacation time, people may assume they can cash them in whenever they want. While generally, it is not a big deal to submit a request for paid time off, depending on the industry and company you work for your request may be denied.

Your boss or supervisor is within their rights to deny your request for paid time off. You are entitled to take your days at some point during the calendar or fiscal year, but if the dates you want to take off interfere with something for the business a manager may deny your request and ask that you reschedule. For skilled legal advice and representation, speak with a Cherry Hill employment law attorney.

Is Time Off Legally Required?

The FMLA is one way that you may have a legal right to take time off work regardless of input from your boss. The FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) is a federal law that allows you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave if you recently birthed or adopted a child or to care for a sick relative. This is a federally regulated law, but New Jersey has additional state requirements for employers that allow employees the right to take parental leave and domestic violence leave. If you qualify for any of these, you are legally allowed to take leave. It is important to remember that this leave is different than your PTO as you are not entitled to payment for your absence.

Why Would My PTO Request Get Denied?

Depending on the industry you work in and the culture of the company, your paid time off request may have been denied for a variety of reasons including the following.

  • Too many people have already requested that time off. If you are on a team that shares responsibilities and one or more of your team members are going to be out of the office during that time your boss may deny your request to ensure that someone is present to complete work or answer questions.
  • There is no one to cover your shift. If your schedule is based on shifts your boss may have denied your request because they need a certain amount of people working per shift.
  • It’s a blackout period. Some employees designate certain periods when they do not allow any employees to take time off. This could be because they get an excessive amount of PTO requests during this time or it is a busy time for the company.

What Should I Do if My Paid Time Off Request is Rejected?

There are a few options you can choose from if your PTO request was denied. First, reach out to your manager to find out why your request was rejected. Once you have a clearer understanding of the reason you can work to resolve the issue.

If your time off is necessary for religious, medical, or family reasons, your boss may be willing to work with you to ensure you can take the time off that you need.

If there is a staffing issue, reach out to your coworkers. Ask if someone would be willing to switch vacation times with you or if anyone can cover your shift(s).

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