In Part I of this post, No Money for Raises This Year? Ask for Bonus Vacation Days, I proposed the idea of asking for additional vacation days off from work when you are expecting a raise. Do you value vacation time off from work over more money in your regular paycheck? When your employer’s compensation budget is tight the chances of getting your fully deserved raise, or any raise at all, is at risk. Asking your company for more vacation days may be the best solution to both situations.
To convince your boss and HR that bonus vacation days are a mutually beneficial reward, review these bullet points to help prove that you have thought this through and serious about your request. Tailor these to your particular situation and place of work since every company is different. Be sure to include the results from the vacation day cost versus value calculation that you performed in Part I.
With the points above on the table, you will encounter some objections and may need to negotiate and compromise on your initial proposal. Be flexible as to the exact number of vacation days you’ll receive instead of a bonus as well as any stipulations on how you must track and use them in the upcoming year.
Based on my own work experience, I have outlined the most common objections that you may hear. I recommend that you review each one and be prepared to address them during your conversation in person with your manager or HR representative (the decision maker). All of these legitimate reasons can be overcome if you approach them with a professional and positive attitude and if you work for an organization that is willing to embrace creative solutions for rewarding top talent.
Despite my best advice there are going to be situations where your employer is a stickler for policy. I wish they all would offer the creative flexibility that people in your shoes thrive on to meet work-life balance goals for travel, family, and enrichment. You still have to deal with the reality of the corporate culture and HR policies at your workplace.
The only way you will know which type of employer you work for is to review this advice, outline your own points for discussion, prepare for the typical objections, and give it your best try. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that your request for a couple of bonus vacation days is easy to say “Yes” to, especially when your manager wants to reward you but is having trouble getting budget approval. Accept the final result with a positive attitude regardless of whether you succeed or fail.
Be aware that your manager may agree to your extra vacation day proposal, but decide not to loop-in the Human Resources department or payroll staff. It will be under-the-table, but your ability to take these extra vacation days is still the same. It just may not show up on your paycheck stub or visible on the HR web portal as earned PTO/Vacation Days Taking one of these special days means informing your manager and keeping track off the record. I cannot advise for or against this unofficial approach as it all depends on the type of employer and the nature of the relationship between yourself and your manager.
Hopefully you work for a company that is willing to consider granted bonus vacation days as a sign of their belief in work-life balance, flexible corporate culture, and employee happiness. Post a comment below if you have successfully requested vacation days as an alternative to a raise (in good or bad economic times) or if you ran into inflexible corporate policies at your workplace.
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