how to get more paid time off

How to Negotiate for More Vacation Time at Work

More paid time off means more time with your family during summer vacations, to relax, and to catch up on your favorite seasons. According to a scientific study, vacations are absolutely necessary to improve productivity. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average American receives ten paid leaves per year after one year of service. This is not equal to even one leave per month. 

However, there are a number of ways to negotiate paid time off during job offers and also during your current role. Here is everything you need to know about this:

  • Section 1: How to Ask for More PTO in a Job Offer (Jump to this section if you are negotiating a new offer.)
  • Section 2: How to Ask For More Vacation Time In Your Current Job (Jump to this section if you’re already employed.)
  • Section 3: Companies with Unlimited PTO (Jump to this section if you’re looking for work and want to work somewhere vacation-friendly.)

I have added scripts to help you navigate the conversation in each case.

How to Ask for More PTO in a Job Offer

Quick little side note: If you’re currently looking for work, the best way to get a great offer with great perks is to show them that the return on investment (ROI) for hiring you is very high. You can do that by ensuring your resume has all your achievements. If this is something you’re struggling with, download my salary-doubling resume cheat sheet, by inputting your information below:

The right time to ask for more money and any other benefits is when you’ve just received a job offer. That’s the time any company is more than willing to accommodate your requirements only to hear a yes from you. If your job offer states a fewer number of vacation days as compared to your current package, you can negotiate it by saying:

“In my current role, I get four weeks of vacation a year, so two weeks would be a quite big step back for me. Would you be able to offer four weeks to match what I have currently?”

Sometimes companies have a policy of increasing the paid time off after a couple of years of employment. As a mid-level professional, you can leverage your experience to negotiate more vacation time than offered:

“I understand that you have a policy of increasing the PTO after [number of years as stated in the offer]. However, based on the experience I’m bringing, would you be able to start me off at four weeks right away?”

1. Reference Other Offers on the Table

Your goal is not only to secure a job but also to receive fair compensation that aligns with the value you bring to the company. You may find yourself in a situation with two written offers but the one that really aligns with your career goals offers a less competitive salary as compared to the other one. 

If you have multiple job offers, you can compare and leverage them in front of your potential employer to receive the best package you wish for. Here is a script you can use to convey your thoughts:

“Thank you for extending me this offer! I am looking forward to working with the [Team Name] Team at [Company Name]. However, I wonder if there is room for negotiation in the proposed compensation package. I have recently received another offer for a [Position] role with [salary] and [benefits]. As I am excited to join your team and believe this role is an ideal fit for me, I’d like to know if we can find a way to close this gap.”

Asking for more paid time off is not the only benefit you can ask for in addition to salary. A compensation package is much more than just salary and vacations. You can negotiate other time related offers some of which I have given below:

  • Remote work
  • Reduced Working Hours
  • Office Expenses
  • Flexible Working Hours
  • More stock options
  • Insurance coverage
  • Joining bonus
  • Retirement Plan
  • Child Care
  • Training Certifications
  • Relocation Allowance 

Before you decide to ask for these, do thorough research on the company and the benefits it usually offers. It’d be a good idea to research the company’s financial standing as well. This will give you a fair idea of what and how much to ask for. 

Here’s a script to help you ask for other benefits:

“Thank you for your generous offer. I’m excited to be joining your [Team Name] team as a [Position]. Though I understand that the best you can offer for this role is $145,000,  I’d like to know if you can offer some flexibility in other benefits. I’m willing to accept this number with a compensation package that includes an extra week of vacation and allows me to work remotely for two days a week. If you agree, I’d be eager to move forward with this offer."

Negotiating for more time off doesn't have to stop once you accept the job offer. If you’re thinking about asking for more paid time off in your current role, below is everything you should know about it. 

How to Ask For More Vacation Time In Your Current Job

Generally, the best time to ask for more vacations is during performance reviews and salary negotiations. If you want help regarding negotiating a higher salary this year, please check out some of the tips I wrote here. Please continue reading if you are planning to negotiate more vacation time in your current role.

1. Get Familiar With Your Company's Vacation Policy.

As you prepare to ask for more vacation time in your current job, the first thing you should do is to check out the vacation policy in the company handbook. You should also look at your job contract to compare factors like:

  1. How many leaves are you allowed to take?
  2. How does the paid time off accrue annually?
  3. What happens if you don’t avail the leaves? Do they roll over, disappear, or do you get leave encashment? 
  4. For how long can you take unpaid leaves? 
  5. Are you offered sick leaves separately from PTO? If yes, how many? 

Once you’re familiar with these numbers, it’d be easier for you to prepare your negotiation points.

Moreover, you can also leverage this information to compare your benefits in case you get another employment offer. 

2. Ask for More Vacation Time During Your Next Performance Review

If you’ve been performing really well this year and expect your annual performance review to go smoothly, you can use this opportunity to ask for some benefits. You can say something like:

"I really enjoy working for this company. Would you be open to discussing an increase in the amount of vacation time I receive each year?"

“Would you be open to giving me an additional [X amount] of vacation per year in recognition of the hard work I’ve been doing and the value I’ve been adding to our team?”

“I appreciate the positive feedback on my performance! I’d like to discuss an increase in vacation time in lieu of a raise. Is that something you would be open to exploring?”

If you don’t ask, you’ll never know the answer.

3. Prepare Proof Points.

Similar to asking for a raise, the formula here is to show, don’t tell. 

Before you get into this conversation, step back and think about your achievements at the company. Think of and write down everything you have contributed towards team and company success in a “brag sheet.” Here are some pointers you can elaborate on:

  • What goals have you achieved so far?
  • How have you helped your team do their work better? 
  • Have you saved the company some money?
  • Did you bring in any new clients? How much money did you help the company earn?
  • Did you receive any written recognition from your higher-ups for your performance? 

Add numbers, percentages, and testimonials to strengthen your case. Doing this will prove two things to your manager: one, that you’re serious about the importance of paid time off and that your contributions back up your case well. 

4. Time Your Request Appropriately.

The timing of your request can make or break your case. I know someone who asked for extra benefits while the company was going through a merger. Needless to say, it didn’t work well for him. 

You should make the move if you’ve had a great quarter, the team is in good spirits, and the company is actively hiring new employees.

On the other hand, it may not be a good time to ask for additional benefits if there is a hiring freeze at the company or employees are being laid off. Moreover, consider postponing your request if you’re in the peak busy time of a quarter. 

5. Give Some Options

You should not stick to only asking for more paid time off. This is because you’ll be at a loss if the company policies regarding PTO are not flexible enough. Instead, you should consider giving some options like a hybrid work facility and flexible working hours. This will increase your chances of success. 

6. Get It in Writing

If you’ve successfully negotiated more vacation time, firstly, congratulations! Now is the time to get it in writing. Normally, companies send a notice or letter that reflects the changes made in the compensation. Make sure you receive and sign it. 

If that’s not the case, the best approach is to start an email thread with HR and your manager to seek confirmation of changes in your compensation package. 

Remember, nothing is final until you receive it in writing. 

7. Use Your Vacation

This may seem like a no-brainer but the truth is that according to the US Travel Association, Americans left 768 million vacation days unused. 

You put in the effort to do research, prepare your case, and successfully negotiated more paid time off for yourself. Now you deserve to use it. 

Companies with Unlimited PTO

logos of companies that offer unlimited paid time off

If work-life balance is your top priority, you’d love to have unlimited paid time off. Here are some companies you can apply to that offer unlimited paid time off:

  1. Netflix
  2. Twitter
  3. LinkedIn
  4. Zoom
  5. Salesforce
  6. Oracle
  7. Asana
  8. Evernote
  9. Vimeo
  10. Roku
  11. Adobe

If you're thinking of applying to any of the very competitive companies listed above, make sure your resume is up to the mark. Download my free, salary-doubling resume cheat sheet here to ensure your resume doesn't get stuck in a black hole:

Looking for more negotiation help? Check out these links:

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