PTO PROBLEMS – Should I talk to HR? ( LONG-WINDED)

posted 3 years ago in Career
  • poll: Do I speak to HR about my PTO issues?
    Yes, speak to HR ( what do I say?) : (10 votes)
    40 %
    Speak to manager directly (why and what do I say?) : (4 votes)
    16 %
    Say nothing : (11 votes)
    44 %
  • Post # 2
    1490 posts
    Bumble bee

    Sorry it’s been hard for you to get the time you need. I do believe that PTO can in fact, be taken at a time when convenient for the employer, not the employee. As per a quick look up of the regulations. Maybe some HR bees can clarify 

    Post # 3
    2188 posts
    Buzzing bee

     Lily_of_the_valley :   I know very little about HR policy, but I think he does have a right to restrict when you take PTO. However, I’d recommend talking to him about the problems that causes you and offer to work out a solution. Depending on your work, can you do some extra work before a vacation to ease the workload on others while you’re away?

    At my work, we have specific weeks we’re banned from taking vacation due to specific events we work. There are other events we can get approval for missing, but it’s expected that we work extra before we go to make sure our work for the event is taken care of.

    Post # 4
    3379 posts
    Sugar bee

    I’m a lawyer. I can’t take vacation during a trial. When I worked at a financial firm, vacations at quarter-end were looked down upon. What line of business are you in? Is month-end particularly busy? You can go to HR about it, but without knowing more, I’d approach it as a “I’m just trying to understand why month-end PTO is not allowed, thank you!” rather than “I’m complaining that my manager won’t let me take PTO at the end of the month.”

    Post # 5
    47187 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999


    First, disabuse yourself of the notion that you can take PTO whenever you want. Every employer can have policies for when PTO can be taken and a process to request and get approval. As long as their policies do not restrict the employees’ ability to take their PTO at some time of the year, they are perfectly legal.

    Does your employer have a written policy for PTO? Ask to see a copy of it, if you don’t already have access.

    Does the policy spell out time frames within which managers must give a response? If not, ask for that. Your manager has some obligation to get back to you in a reasonable time frame.


    Post # 7
    319 posts
    Helper bee

    Yeah, as much as your manager clearly needs some coaching to become a more effective manager, PTO is indeed a benefit – but not one that the employer is required to give you, or give without strings attached. If there are certain times of the year / month / etc that are busier, your manager has every right to refuse to allow PTO.  

    That said, there are clearly communication issues here. I’d suggest talking to him first (in a polite, productive manner, I’d suggest avoiding giving him dirty looks) and set out clearly his expectation and ask what you can do in the future to expedite a response to your PTO requests in the future. If that doesn’t work, you can certainly go to HR and ask that HR clarify with you and him.  

    Post # 8
    3379 posts
    Sugar bee

    Lily_of_the_valley :  I read your other thread – your boss told you then that it is all hands on deck at end of year and busy at the end of the month. Sounds like you can’t take PTO at end of month or end of year. It sucks, but that’s the way it is there. You could look for a different job. For example, my husband is the least senior person at work so will be working holidays from now until someone else dies or retires. It sucks, but….

    Post # 9
    728 posts
    Busy bee

    Idk why you would book tickets without knowing if your pto was approved. You’re lucky your manager did end up approving it, if he was a real jerk he could have said no I don’t care about your tickets. 

    It sounds like you need to find the written policy on PTO so it is very clear what the rules are. If that means that you have to go to HR or whoever to get the information you need. I would say something like “I am unclear on the rules of taking PTO is there a written policy I could have a copy of or could you please explain it to me” if they don’t mention anything about no taking off at the end of the month then I would bring up that you were told you can’t take off towards the end of months to get clarification. 

    But no job is going to let you take PTO any time you want. There are always going to be rules.

    Post # 10
    1254 posts
    Bumble bee

    Lily_of_the_valley :  

    I work for the financial industry and first of the month and month end is always busy.

    However PTO is usually done at the convience of the employer not the employee.

    Post # 11
    751 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: November 2015

    Lily_of_the_valley :  Awe, this sucks. I haven’t read all the PP’s responses so I apologize if I’m redundant in any way.

    My best advice to you would be:

    1) Check with HR about PTO…but I’m pretty sure the employer can do blackout dates if it inconveniences the company. My mom dealt with this a lot in her job before she retired. There were certain weeks that no one was allowed to take off unless it was an emergency.

    2) Do your best to plan trips during the weeks that aren’t at the end of the month. Unless there’s a dire need to go to Hawaii May 25-30th vs May 15-20th, I can’t imagine how (with enough planning) that would be a terrible problem. Obviously for weddings/events out of your control it’s a little different, but if you plan other PTO accordingly, those will be few and far between. 

    3) Don’t book anything unless you know it’s approved. That’s not your employer’s fault.

    4) Next time you request PTO, I would start by emailing your boss a detailed request with dates you’ll be gone, and also let him know you’ll be handling XYZ before you leave so that it’s not left behind, and that you’ve got Susan in X department taking your calls as well so that nothing goes unanswered. You get the drift. Reassure him it’s covered. THEN, I would talk with him in person and discuss whether it’s approved, is there anything else you need to take care of, etc. At that point, you can buy tickets. Also, keep sending the reminders. Those are good even if he approved everything ever.


    If you still truly think he’s in the wrong…why don’t you talk to him, and to HR (together or separately) and ask for a detailed list of the PTO policies for employees. Ask HR if there’s a time off request form you can submit when you need PTO. That way it goes through HR each time. Plus, nothing better than a paper trail. If there is a form, then he’d be able to sign it or not sign it, according to policy. With a signed PTO approval, it leaves a lot less in the gray area.

    Post # 12
    1070 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: December 2013

    I don’t work in HR, but my understanding is that an employeer can black out dates or limit when PTO can actually be taken.

    For example, my husband is a PA and works for an orthopedic surgeon group.  Their busiest time of the year is December because people are trying to use up their flexible spending accounts and planning those elective surgeries that they’ve been putting off all year.  He normally cannot take PTO off that time of year, even though it’s around the holidays.  We were able to get an exception because I am a teacher and we got married in December (and also took our honeymoon that month because I was on winter break) but we got approval before we booked anything.

    Sorry, I think you’re in the wrong here.  Yes, PTO is an earned benefit but all companies that I know of having polices so that it doesn’t cause an undue hardship on the other employees that need to cover your absence.

    Post # 13
    478 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2018

    If you don’t have a written PTO policy I would talk to HR, but not about this specific incedent. Just ask them about blackout dates/limits in a general context vs. in relation to your manager. Then you will know for the future if this is an actual policy or just him being cranky.

    Post # 14
    379 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: June 2017

    Sounds like you should put your big girl pants on and talk to your boss.

    If you’re considering moving up to a managerial position, you must be okay having hard talks. 

    Post # 15
    9044 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper

    Lily_of_the_valley :  I live in a different country with extremely generous leave entitlements for employees but it has always been understood that leave is at the discretion of the employer and that blackout dates can apply (depending on your field). For example I cannot take leave over January and between May and July due to events I need to run.

    Also it is pretty standard that bereavement leave is for immediate family only (parents, siblings, grandparents, partner and children). 

    Does your company have a leave policy? Ours is on our intranet and it is the employees responsiblility to read it. It has also been referenced in every employment contract I have signed. Maybe check with your HR dept where you can view a copy. 

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