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Asked by David on February 13, 2015

Is it acceptable for me to take vacation time within the first 6 months on the job? Is using vacation time, in general, valuable to my career or should I work more and take less time off?

Answered by Megan, Hiring Expert at Archer Daniels Midland, on February 17, 2015

If you already had a vacation booked or know that you will need a particular day off, it is usually negotiable with your manager but it also depends on the company policy. It is valuable for you to be in the office especially if you are learning a new position, but most managers understand that things do come up or a vacation may have been scheduled before you took the position.

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Answered by Ellen, Hiring Expert at Hospira, on February 17, 2015

Yes it is OK to take vacation within the first six months on the job.  I would suggest that you let your employer know you have scheduled vacation and generally that is not an issue.  Most companies have a philosophy they want their team members to take vacation to "recharge the battery".  It is healthy to take time off.  It is not uncommon for companies to have policies though.  Do check to ensure taking time off would not be an issue. 

 

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Answered by Kacie, Hiring Expert at Mutual of Omaha, on February 17, 2015

Many times a candidate will accept a job knowing that they have a vacation planned after their start date.  It is a good rule of thumb to let the company know this when accepting a job offer.  That way, you can work out the arrangements to see if you will have enough vacation accrued, etc.  Most employers will work with you on this if it is brought up in advance and they may even provide you with extra or upfront vacation.  

It is best if you can request vacation as far in advance as possible, especially in the first months at a new job.   Taking time off is not a negative thing and can increase an employees productivity upon their return.   Each company is different, so I would be sure to have open communication with your manager and ask what is expected as far as time off, especially in the starting months.

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Answered by Dana, Hiring Expert at ManpowerGroup, on February 19, 2015

Regarding the first question: I think this all depends on the position you’ve been hired for, why you were hired and what kind of company dynamics are going on, and how far in advance you let them know about the vacation.
 
Typically, I preferred that my candidates told me about any upcoming time off or vacation plans as we approached an offer, or just after they had accepted the offer. Sometimes candidates are wary about mentioning an upcoming vacation to recruiters or Hiring Managers until after things are set in stone, e.g. they’ve been hired and issued a start date. That is not unusual. If you’ve already accepted an offer, or you’ve recently begun a new job, this is probably a good time to bring it up, even if the vacation is still a month away.
 
But be wary: If you were hired to replace a critical team member who left suddenly, or to tackle a serious set of issues or projects that are time sensitive, you may come to realize that it’s not comfortable to take time off within the first six months. Trust your gut, and observe what your colleagues are doing and how they handle PTO requests during this time frame.
 
I think most companies would be very understanding, and naturally expect that you would want to take at least some time off during the first six months, unless there are odd circumstances going on, and they have informed you about this in advance. It’s healthy to have a strong work-life balance, and taking some PTO can ultimately help you to be a more productive, successful, and happy employee.
 
Ask your recruiter or HR contact how time-off is accrued or distributed at this company, though, and if you are allowed to “borrow from the future.” If you won’t have enough PTO hours earned by the start of your vacation, you might be able to take them anyway, putting your PTO total into the negative, without any penalty or negative consequences. Then you may be able to continue to work and build this back up to a positive number over the ensuing months. But find out if the recruiter or HR contact recommends this, and if it’s appropriate for a brand new employee to do so.
 
Regarding your second question: I would take all of the PTO you are given. If you get three weeks a year, take all three weeks. It’s important for you to have that balance, and establish this as a priority for your wellbeing. The only cautionary note would be to make sure you are not taking it all at once (unless they’ve told you this is OK), or during a “high season” when a lot of senior employees are off. You may need to be strategic about when you use your vacation time, to ensure adequate coverage for your team. 

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Answered by Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., on February 20, 2015

Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to take a vacation in the first six months on the job.  Almost all companies offer paid time off to their employees and most understand the importance of taking this time to refresh and recharge.  In the long run, it is in the best interest of the company to ensure that their employee's overall state of mind is positive, as this promotes creativity and innovation.  Taking vacation is key to this.  Please don't feel as if you have to make a statement by not taking time off because you are new on the job.  Let the quality of your work show your level of dedication to your company.

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