Believe it or not, there is a recommended process when it comes to requesting time off, and with summer upon us we thought it was the perfect time for a refresher. This applies to those of us who are in a current role as well as those who are in a job search. This is certainly not to discourage you from scheduling that vacation because we’re right behind you, just keep in mind there is a professional way to do it to ensure a smooth transition out the door as well as when you come back.

To begin, you need to have a clear understanding of your company’s time-off policy. How much time are you allowed to take? Also, keep in mind if you work for a smaller company there may be a rule in place that only allows 1-2 people out at the same time. We recommend that you request the time off as soon as you know you need it. If you are scheduling a family vacation, it is likely that you will need to do so at least a few months in advance, so once you have the dates set, put In your PTO request. Of course, there are emergencies that happen that warrant you taking immediate time off, which we recommend maintaining contact with your boss to give them an idea of how much time you will need. That being said, you never know when these emergencies may arise, so be diligent about saving a few days of PTO or sick time throughout the year for these “just-in-case” scenarios. In other words, if you get 12 days PTO, taking a 10-business day vacation in February is not recommended. You are responsible for managing your time off and ensuring you do not go over the cusp.

Whether you fill out a time off request by hand or submit it through an email, a formal request is necessary. Asking for time-off isn’t something you should do in a passing conversation. In fact, we recommend you keep a spreadsheet or record of the time you have already used vs. the time you have left. Keeping documentation will save a miscommunication down the road. Having a written document or email to refer back to if necessary is extremely helpful. It’s easy to forget that Friday you left early for your kid’s band concert, so skipping out a couple of hours early on Friday before a holiday weekend already puts you at a half-day of used PTO. Just like the $2 coffee/day brings you to almost $50/month, a couple of hours here and there PTO can come as a surprise when it comes time to schedule that vacation.

If you are in a current job search, we recommend keeping your time off needed (if applicable) at the forefront of your mind should you choose to accept the role. For a rule of thumb, the best time to mention that you need time off is after you have been offered the job but before you accept it. Of course, it won’t look great if you go into a role with 2 weeks+ that you need off, so if you are in a job search try to refrain from that. However, the employer will be understanding if you have a vacation that was prescheduled, and they may actually work your start date around it. Honesty is always the best policy, especially at the potential beginning of your employment with a new company.

If you are putting in for a lengthy time-off request, say for maternity leave, are you preparing your coworkers and potential temporary replacement for success while you are out? You should have an extensive idea of what needs to be done while you are gone to keep things running smoothly and if you can complete any of those tasks ahead of time, your coworkers will appreciate it. Otherwise, they could get tasked with extra work and you may come back to a pile on your desk which of course is never fun. There are things you will not be able to complete ahead of time which is unavoidable but making sure to address and correct potential issues that may occur in your absence before they happen will reflect greatly on your performance. We recommend scheduling a couple of meetings throughout your pregnancy with your superior to keep everyone on the same page. Perhaps your daily work can easily be divided amongst coworkers or perhaps a temp-hire is needed in which case you will need to provide training. Either way crossing your t’s or dotting your i’s will only help you in the long run.

If you find yourself in a search for qualified candidates, please give us a call at (518) 275-4816 where we are happy to find your perfect fit. We provide direct and temporary hires, for the extent of your needs.