Can Your Boss Control Your Vacation Time?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about vacation time:

I recently found out that a co-worker was told that she couldn’t take any vacation days until September of this year because of the intense workload our department is under. Is this a violation of her civil liberties? Can a boss dictate how and when you can take your vacation.

Signed, Wondering About Vacations

Dear Wondering About Vacations:

Vacations and time off are certainly benefits we all want and use, but they are benefits–not legally regulated issues in most states, and not even a requirement for employers in most cases. Your state may have such regulations, and you can find that out by checking with your state’s department of labor. If you are unionized there may be contractual issues involved. However, even in states that govern time off in some organizations (usually in state government offices) it is understood that vacations may be cancelled as needed, or scheduled in a way that best supports work.In your situation, if you and your co-worker work in one unit within a larger organization, consider contacting your HR office to see if your boss’s requirements are only his own, or if they reflect the requirements of the larger organization.

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