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Career Development Tips

Best Strategies for Negotiating Vacation Time

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

Why negotiating vacation time is importantHow to negotiate vacation time skillfullyTips for negotiating vacation time

Guide Overview

Prioritize personal time

Taking time for yourself is crucial to mental well-being and a positive work/life balance. An employee who is in a positive mental state is productive and produces quality work consistently. Stress is detrimental to health, increases personal illness, and when unmanaged, can lead to serious health complications requiring medical attention. Well-planned vacation time can help you re-energize and return to work with enthusiasm. Learn the importance of negotiating vacation time with a new employer, steps to take when making a request, and tips to consider for increasing your chances of getting the request approved. 

Learn more: Do These 5 Things Before Going on Vacation

Why negotiating vacation time is important

Working full time, even in a career you are passionate about, can take a toll on your health and mental state. When joining a new company, it is important to establish your expectations for a positive work/life balance. A well-rested employee thinks clearly, is patient, makes sound decisions, and is successful at self-regulation. Companies that invest in their employees’ quality of life see an improvement in employee performance. Negotiating vacation time is a confident move that shows you have faith in your abilities and know your worth.

Learn more: 25 Highest Rated Companies for Vacation Paid Time Off

How to negotiate vacation time skillfully

Follow these steps for a productive negotiation process to increase the possibility of getting the time you request.

1. Review company policy.

Familiarize yourself with the procedures, policies, and regulations that guide vacation time and paid time off. Review the employee handbook to gauge whether your request is in line with the governing policy set by company leadership. You can also contact the human resources (HR) department for clarification of when you will be eligible to use the time you are negotiating. Some companies require new hires to wait six months to a year before using vacation time. Arming yourself with the needed information can help you provide a more sound and well-thought-out request.

2. Determine the appropriate times to take leave.

Before negotiating for vacation time, determine the right times of year to take leave from work. You’ll want to plan for taking leave during a slump in workload, so your coworkers are not overwhelmed. The time of year when you can take leave may affect how much vacation time you need to negotiate for. Wintertime travel is more complicated, as inclement weather can cause flight delays or icy roads. Taking vacation time in the winter may require extra time for traveling obstacles. On the other hand, vacation time during the summer and peak travel for the rest of the world might create booking obstacles and require your days to be more flexible.

Learn more: 7 Reasons You Need to Schedule Vacation Time

3. Take stock of your past achievements and explain how you will apply your skills for company success.

Create a list accounting for your achievements and qualifications for the position. Align your list with ways you can help the company succeed and even provide actionable steps you plan on taking. Show preparedness to work and in your request for extra vacation time. This consideration will influence the ultimate decision. Employers are more likely to agree to your requests when they see the value in it for them. The agreement should be mutually beneficial for both parties.

4. Prepare your central points.

When preparing your notes, consider the obvious question your employer will be wondering, “why do you deserve more vacation time?” Answer this question expertly to convince the company that granting you extra vacation time will advance the company. A thoughtful answer should include:

  • Your proven results from previous work (even at another company). This information establishes your value as an employee. Give quantifiable data to show the direct impact and create a concrete example of your skills.
  • Your years of experience within the industry (and in the specific role). Your years of experience speak to your level of expertise and the amount of knowledge you bring to the company.
  • Specific certifications you’ve earned. The certifications or licenses are a testament to your dedication to the industry and further reveal your skill. If you have less experience, the certifications are proof that you have the skills needed to succeed and support the company in reaching its aim.
  • Advanced degrees you hold. Degrees reveal the level of information you have, your dedication to improvement, and your focus on lifelong learning as an employee with a growth mindset.
  • Information on vacation time allowance from other companies. This will give you leverage in your request as the information can persuade your employer to provide a stronger offer to retain your talents.
  • The vacation package you are leaving behind. If the vacation time you had previously offered more time or value, check if your new employer will match it. It is a typical request and reasonable to want what you already had. A change in employment should reflect better opportunity, not a loss.

5. Practice with a friend.

Stage a discussion with a friend. This run-through is a good way to practice your verbal exchanges and work through any possible responses your supervisor will have. Practicing the discussion with a friend will help ease any nerves and give you the confidence you need to assert what you deserve.

6. Set up an appointment with the supervisor or hiring manager.

Ask the supervisor for time to discuss your concerns and requests before you sign any agreement. A supervisor willing to carve out time in their schedule for you values your input, and they will appreciate the respectful approach you take.

Learn more: How Soon Should You Put In For Holiday Vacation

7. Follow company procedures.

Align your request with company policies. It should be reasonable to the culture of the company. This will increase your chances of a successful negotiation.


Learn more: Cool Companies Offering Unlimited Vacation

Tips for negotiating vacation time

Use these tips to help your efforts in negotiating vacation time.

  • Be confident and assertive. Your chances of getting what you want will increase with a convincing and confident approach.
  • Provide numerical data. Provide research-backed information on how extended vacations can help productivity. Give data on your previous performances and show how your success was tied to a positive work/life balance. Quantify your information if possible for specificity.
  • Have a plan. Explain to your supervisor who will be in charge of fulfilling your duties while you are on an extended vacation. If you are still too new to the company, explain ways you plan on making yourself available for emergencies or pertinent issues. You can indicate that you will still work remotely for shortened hours to stay on top of our duties.
  • Give some options. Show your critical thinking skills by providing alternative options. Show you don’t plan on using your vacation time all at once. Taking time little by little will lessen the impact your absence will have on the company. You can apply vacation time to an opportunity for you to take a work-related trip.
  • Keep your composure. Be prepared to be turned down. It is a possibility. Have other options on the table for negotiating if that is the case. Maybe you can settle on an agreement for some stock options or a higher contribution to your 401(k).

Learn more: What to Do When Your Days Off Request is Denied

  • Be flexible. Understand that there will be other opportunities to discuss your goals and negotiate for what you deserve. Ask to revisit your contractual agreement next year after you have shown your capabilities.
  • Show appreciation. Supervisors are busy, and negotiations are a little stressful. Show your professionalism by displaying gratitude. Be grateful for the time they took to meet with you and for discussing your options. At the very least, it was a learning experience for you to negotiate the terms of a contract. You will know what to expect in the future and be more prepared. Your professional approach will impress the supervisor, who might consider alternative options for rewarding your work contributions at a future time.


Starting a new job is an exciting time, and knowing what to expect during the negotiation process can increase your chances of getting a deal you like. Negotiating vacation time is an important step in ensuring you have a good work/life balance and are at a place that fits your life. Be sure your employer knows your true value and is offering you the best deal. Your valuable skills should qualify you for a fair job offer that is competitive compared to the market standard.


Discover if you have a fair job offer. See how your offer compares to other pay packages and if you need to negotiate.

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