“Let Me Bury My Child First And I’ll Get Back To You”: 30 Of The Worst Times Shameless Bosses Refused Day-Off Requests
The US is not only lagging behind other countries that enjoy 4-6+ weeks of vacation annually, it doesn't legally require employers to provide paid time off. In fact, there is no obligation for your employer to give paid or unpaid leave unless it’s specified in a collective bargaining agreement or employment contract that requires it.
In addition to a few exceptions and a handful of states that give paid sick time to workers, if an employee requests time off that’s mandated by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or any other labor law, the time off must be given. That said, the FMLA only requires unpaid leave. As you can see, the PTO situation in America is definitely not on the side of the worker.
And recently, Twitter user @PostOpPrincess, who works as a surgical/trauma registered nurse, shared a post: “Guess whose request off work got denied for their own wedding. PTO BABY, prepare the others, I ain't gone be there.” The post went viral, amassing 11.4K retweets and 245.7K likes, making more people share their stories of being denied paid time off at work. And it’s infuriating, to say the least.
Image credits: PostOpPrincess
According to a study from Center for Economic and Policy Research, the European Union requires member countries to grant workers at least 20 working days of paid vacation. But many nations go well above that number, and some offer a heap of paid holidays, to boot. France, for example, requires at least 30 paid workdays off, not including paid holidays, while the U.K. mandates 28, followed by Austria, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Spain and Sweden at 25.
In America, the situation is different, to say the least. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require payment for time not worked, such as vacations, sick leave or federal or other holidays. These benefits are matters of agreement between an employer and an employee.
Moreover, it’s no secret that in many American workplaces, especially the competitive ones, employees who take leave fear being treated badly or losing out on future opportunities. A 2018 study showed one of the biggest reasons US workers didn’t take time off was fear of being seen as replaceable. The US travel association backed up the fact by finding that 28% of people didn't take vacation days in 2014 purely to demonstrate dedication to their job and not be seen as a “slacker”. It’s apparent that the stigma around the idea of not working is very much alive.
Bosses and employers also put pressure on employees' shoulders by expecting them to work hard to demonstrate their excellent performance, earn themselves a badge of honor and possibly get a raise. This becomes especially problematic in workplaces with toxic tendencies where management is particularly controlling.
To find out more about dealing with a micromanaging boss, we spoke with Dawn Moss, the founder of “Your Interview Coach” who has been helping both candidates and hiring managers through the recruitment and selection process since 2013. “It all comes back to trust and communication between the manager and employee,” Dawn noted. “Firstly, it’s best not to use the term micromanaged during those initial conversations with your manager because it often has negative connotations,” she suggested. “However, you need to start the dialogue about expectations and quality standards of work.”
Dawn’s advice is to be prepared, organized and proactive. “Think ahead and be prepared to provide those detailed updates to reassure your manager that they can be confident you are in control and know what’s going on. Let them know ahead of time if a deadline is unrealistic, or a target is unlikely to be met. Let them know about issues before they find out about them from someone else.”
Moreover, according to Dawn, it’s always a good idea to reflect and analyze your own work ethic, patterns and styles. “Check that this hasn’t impacted on the trust between you and your manager. For example, the quality of your work, missing deadlines, turning up late, lack of communication, or updates, etc.”
To build the trust between you as an employee and your manager, it’s important to “try to understand your manager's behavior and the potential pressures they may have (demands, deliverables, outputs, results, stakeholder and shareholder accountability, profitability etc.) and get to know them as a person, their characteristics, their values, simply their likes and dislikes,” Dawn explained.
Moreover, “working together with your manager and reassuring them you want to produce high-quality results and meet their expectations and how best you can achieve this will take the pressure from them.” In turn, you feel more productive, self-sufficient, and independent.
Asking lots of questions about their expectations and concerns and how you can address or improve is also a way to deal with a micromanaging boss, Dawn says. She encourages everyone “to ask for feedback and regular 121s as this will help improve communication between the manager and the employee. It will help build confidence and trust.”