How to Negotiate For More PTO: 6 Tips to Land More Vacation Time
9 June 2021
Man in pool drinking cocktails and looking at the ocean

Ever wonder how to negotiate more PTO? You’re not alone. We all want more time off, but the question is: How do you ask for it without looking like a slacker? Here are some helpful guidelines we’ve compiled from experts and real-life situations that will help you successfully request more time off. Now go get your vacation on!

1. Find Out What the Company’s PTO Policy is, and How Much They Are Willing to Offer

Before you can negotiate more PTO, you need to understand your company’s current vacation/time-off policy. (Ideally this conversation started back with your job offer and salary negotiations!) Every organization will be different when it comes to their policies on time off and some may even have a “no overtime” policy in place.

For instance, if your employer expects all workers to put in 40 hours per week regardless of whether they come in early or work late, then it probably won’t be possible for you to get extra days off without additional compensation.

If there is no flexible time off option currently offered (e.g., flex hours) that would enable requests outside of set working hours, don’t be afraid to ask for it. That’s what negotiating for paid vacation is all about!

Hopefully all of these things are crystal clear from your starting salary discussions when starting the new job.

2. Determine if You’re Worth More Than That Amount of Time Off

Don’t be afraid to negotiate (especially during the job offer and salary negotiation stage with your manager), but also remember not to get greedy and try getting everything you ask for in a single shot.

Sound reasoning will go a long way in helping you walk away from the negotiation table satisfied without ruffling too many feathers. Help out whenever possible (e.g., at night or during the weekend), then propose a deal for some extra time off in exchange for covering someone else’s duties when they need a break or want to take an extended vacation.

This shows that you are a team player, willing to go the extra mile for your employer. You will undoubtedly look good in their eyes and it can only help if you ever need a promotion or raise some day down the road.

3. If They Agree, Negotiate for More Time!

After determining that an agreement is possible, then you should start negotiating on what specific amount of time off you’d like to receive. Always (and we mean always) have a reason for why you want additional days off: whether it’s related to family obligations or another event, just be sure not to come across as someone who is constantly looking for more time off.

If you are a hard worker with family obligations or if another event has caused you to need additional days off, explain to your employer that fact and how those responsibilities have affected your performance at work.

Your boss will be more sympathetic if she knows it’s not simply because you’re looking for an excuse to slack off. They want their employees to be happy outside of the office just as much as they want them to be productive during business hours, so let them know why this time off is necessary and they’ll most likely oblige.

4. If No, Find Out When the Best Times Would Be for Them to Give You Some Extra Time Off

If time-off requests are not currently an option and you need the extra time off for personal reasons, then it is best to first check if your company offers any other types of benefits (e.g., flex hours) that could help make up for a lack of vacation days.

If not, you’ll have to approach the situation from another angle while keeping it professional: explain how this event will benefit you in the long run and will positively impact your performance at work once it’s over.

For example, if you’re attending a convention that provides training or certification related to your field of study/employment, explain how that knowledge will be valuable down the road when applying for advancement opportunities within your company or elsewhere – all while pointing out specific accomplishments from previous jobs where you were able to use specific skills/knowledge. This will make your boss want to provide that extra time off since she’ll know it is not something frivolous and you are genuinely interested in furthering your career.

5. Keep Track of All Requests Made So it Doesn’t Seem as Though You’re Asking Too Often and Always Looking for More Time Off

The key to being successful at negotiating PTO is to do so sparingly, yet consistently: don’t ask every other week or month if you can have a day or two off here and there because you might risk seeming like someone who never wants to work (i.e., lazy).

However, if done correctly, this does not mean that you shouldn’t ask for additional days when they are necessary: you must constantly remind your employer that you are a valuable employee who takes his job seriously and will go above and beyond the call of duty when needed, making them want to provide more benefits and time off in return.

If it comes across as if you are requesting too much time off however, they will no longer be interested in giving any extras – make sure to track your requests so it doesn’t seem like you’re always looking for more time off.

6. Be Gracious

If granted additional PTO or benefits, always show gratitude by being proactive about their acceptance: e-mail/text your boss thanking her.

Be professional always; maintain strong communication with your boss or employer at all times when requesting more time off so he/she knows you’re interested in growing personally as well as professionally. Your goal throughout this process should be to appear organized and thoughtful about any extra days you request so he/she knows it’s not because you’re always looking for more time off: just do enough research into what they have available (e.g., flex hours) that can help make up for a lack of vacation days, and then craft an argument that focuses on how this event will positively impact your job performance upon your return.

If you find that all types of time-off benefits are currently unavailable or limited in some way (e.g., no full weeks off), it is best to ask for something else in return: offer to cover extra work hours during evenings/weekends as a trade-off for any additional time off needed. That way, even if you’re not getting the entire PTO benefit you initially requested, you still might be able to get more than what was available before since the company now knows how helpful they can be and will see that as incentive to provide more resources when possible.

Using these methods, you should be more successful in obtaining the time-off benefits or PTO your need: keep track of all requests made so it doesn’t seem as though you’re asking too often and always looking for more time off. Most importantly, remember that negotiation is not about winning or losing an extra day off or two – it’s about building a strong relationship with those around you so they know how much effort and commitment you are willing to make towards success; this makes them want to give back in return.

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