How to negotiate a holiday with your boss

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to negotiate a holiday with your boss. And no, you don’t need to lie about a relative’s sickness, you just need to plan ahead.

  • Approach the boss with a solution
  • Find a replacement
  • Plan ahead
  • Be flexible

Approach the boss with a solution

What can you do to ensure that your work does not get impacted during your absence? If you approach your seniors with a solution, half the battle is already won.

Find a replacement

It can be a colleague or someone hired temporarily. Work should’t suffer in your absence.

Plan ahead

Don’t decided to go on a leave last minute as it would burden your colleagues. Plan it ahead so your manager also has time to figure out what to do in your absence.

Be flexible

Build your leave request around others who might be planning to take time off. Your thoughtfulness will be appreciated and reciprocated. 

Be honest

What you need to do is plan in advance and approach your boss honestly. “Clear communication helps your seniors plan the team capacity in advance, shows them that you have the company’s interest in mind and ensures that there is trust between you and your seniors,” says Rakhee Malik, head and director of human resources, AT Kearney India, a management consulting company.

Malik speaks from experience. More than a decade age as a newly married woman and an assistant manager, she wanted to take a leave to travel outside India for three weeks. “This holiday was important as I wanted to travel down to meet my husband. However, I knew it would be difficult as I was part of a small team, had no one to fill in for my role, and the time period of June-July is the time when a lot of other employees usually take breaks,” she says.

Mrinal Bagaria (left) approached his CEO Ravi Kaklasaria (centre) with a vacation plan; Rakhee Malik (below) asked her co-workers to chip in. (Ramegowda Bopaiah/Mint)
Mrinal Bagaria (left) approached his CEO Ravi Kaklasaria (centre) with a vacation plan; Rakhee Malik (below) asked her co-workers to chip in. (Ramegowda Bopaiah/Mint)

After some deliberation, she approached her colleagues first to see if they were ready to take up her work in her absence. By the time she got to her boss, she was prepared. “As I had armed myself with possible solutions already, it became a two-way problem solving discussion and in the end, my boss approved the leave,” says the 44-year-old.

How to ask your boss for more vacation time

A step-by-step guide on how to increase the number of leaves you are entitled

  • List down your achievements: Find out the number of hours you have put in, from the extras over the weekend, to working on projects that were outside your assigned duties. Assign monetary value to each of these and arrive at what you have saved or made.
  • Show the numbers: Bosses respect and understand statistics. Put down the costs of what you have saved for the company and instead of compensation, ask for more vacation time. Say that you want a ‘hike’ in the number of days you can take off or ask for being able to take more days off consecutively. Always start higher and then you can negotiate it down to 15-30%.

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