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Can My Boss Deny My PTO?

For many employees, PTO is written into their employment contract. However, that doesn’t mean that a request cannot be denied. Supervisors and managers can deny PTO requests depending on the company and situation. If you need legal assistance for a case involving your place of work, speak with a Marquette employment lawyer.

What is PTO?

PTO (paid time off) is a benefit that many employers offer their employees. It refers to any time that an employee spends out of the office but they are still paid for. It is often included as part of the employee’s compensation package. Along with their salary, health insurance, and 401k match, they can benefit from a generous paid time off package. It often includes 10 or more “vacation” days as well as days for sick leave. When an employee goes on vacation, falls ill, or needs to attend personal events during work time, they can use a paid day off.

Is My Boss Allowed to Deny My PTO Request?

While it may sadden employees to know, your PTO request can be denied for various reasons. Michigan state law requires that employers provide paid medical or sick leave to eligible employees, however, that does not apply to vacation days. While it may feel like your boss is being unreasonable or targeting you, they likely have a reason for denying your request. If it is last minute they may not be able to secure the required coverage or there may be an important project or event during the time you requested. You are entitled to take your vacation days but your employer is also entitled to deny certain dates if they are not conducive to the work you are doing.

What Can I Do if My Request is Denied?

If your request for paid time off is denied don’t panic. While sometimes there is no way around it, you may be able to figure something out. Consider the following steps to try to make your vacation days work.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask your supervisor why your request was denied. Simply ask if there is a specific reason that the dates you provided in your request do not align with the business needs.
  • Explain your situation. Generally, you are not required to offer an explanation when taking paid time off as it is your right to take those days. However, if your request was denied it could benefit you to explain to your boss why you need the time. If you will be using the days for medical, familial, or religious reasons it could encourage your boss to reconsider or try to make it work.
  • Ask for help. A common reason that people’s requests for paid time off are denied is that it will leave the company understaffed. If you work in a hospital or a place where you have designated shifts, try reaching out to some coworkers to see if they would be able to cover your shift. Providing a solution to your boss can help in getting your request reevaluated and approved.
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