Is Your Manager a Vacation Grinch?


For most Americans, looking forward to vacation is part of the way they cope with their work environment. If you work for a wacky company, or a dipstick manager, vacation may be your only solace from the insanity and you look forward to the eventual escape.

Some managers hate to allow staff to go on vacation because it causes short staff issues. You may even work for a company that all hell breaks out every time someone is out sick, or takes a leave of absence, or is on vacation.

While vacation is an earned benefit right along with your salary, some managers like to play Grinch with the approval process. Your employee manual may encourage vacation notice in advance as possible to allow for planning around the absence, some managers prefer to wait until the last possible minute to approve vacations because they are uncertain if it will cause damage to the operation.

I came from the banking industry, and I will say that if something can happen to cause stress to staffing in any given week it will. It is just part of the random nature of how busy you can get. You can have a full staff and hardly any customer comes in that day, and when you are down to the bare minimum the line of customers will be out the door. But to withhold approval for an employee’s vacation because of the unknown is just a sign of immature management.

Unless you are taking a “Staycation” where you are staying home, most people have reserved flights, hotels, cars, cruises, or tours in advance. Money is rarely refundable, so the employee seeks vacation approval before they book a vacation. To expect an employee to eat the cost because their absence from work would cause a shortage at the last minute is absurd. Yet we hire absurd thinking managers all the time!

Take one gentleman in particular. He is verbally approving vacations, but is withholding a written acknowledgement of the vacation request until he is certain it would cause no disruption to the office. If they need this employee to work, the employee must cancel their vacation plans, eat the non-refundable costs and show up to work. If they choose to take vacation they will be terminated for job abandonment.

Today’s economy does not allow us to disregard employees, as they can find another job a lot easier than 3 years ago. At-Will-Employers must always keep in mind that they hire At-Will-Employees that can leave you without notice just like you can let them go without notice. Withholding vacation is a great way to irritate any employee and force them to play the resignation card. Human Resource Directors that discover Vacation Grinch Managers within the company should consider finding them a new career opportunity.

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