Author Topic: Asking employer for unpaid leave? (LWOP)  (Read 492 times)


  • Stubble
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Asking employer for unpaid leave? (LWOP)
« on: July 16, 2020, 01:07:54 AM »
I've been pretty burnt out from work and life stuff and have been craving taking a month off to go on a trip or long hike. I was thinking the Camino di Santiago hike in France/Spain which would take about a month and give me the break I need to come back refreshed. However, I only have about two weeks of paid leave saved up and would need to ask for a couple additional weeks of unpaid leave.

Does anyone have any experience asking an employer for this type of request? Is it generally acceptable, or frowned upon as it's not a leave of necessity? Thanks!


  • Senior Mustachian
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Re: Asking employer for unpaid leave? (LWOP)
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2020, 01:41:37 AM »
Depends a lot on your country, and your work. Where I live, itís not normal, but I know a number of people whoíve done it, and itís not really frowned upon.

Is it a quiet time at your workplace, or are things hectic? Are there quiet times and busy times for your team (for instance, if youíre in an accounting team, the end of financial year is very busy), and are you picking a quiet time? Will it be easy for your workplace to cover your workload while youíre away? Is there someone who could do your work, and who needs to be given a chance? Are they short of money, so you taking unpaid leave could actually help them? Think these things through, and work out how you can approach it so that it doesnít leave your workplace overwhelmed while youíre away. Try to find positive things for them.


  • Bristles
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Re: Asking employer for unpaid leave? (LWOP)
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2020, 06:17:51 AM »
In the 'states, it's commonly difficult to even take all of your earned leave all at once. I feel quite privileged to have an employer who is flexible and whom I'm comfortable talking with, but an entire month would be a tough sell.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Asking employer for unpaid leave? (LWOP)
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2020, 06:29:25 AM »
It depends on what the company is familiar with, too. We have Indian employees with family still in India, and they think nothing of taking a month off to go home for a wedding. Our management team is good with scheduling, especially with the months of advance notice that these vacations usually have.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Asking employer for unpaid leave? (LWOP)
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2020, 06:35:35 AM »
In Germany burn out could actually be a medical condition that qualifies for sick payments. You would need to be diagnosed by a doctor, though, and let them decide about your treatment.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Asking employer for unpaid leave? (LWOP)
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2020, 12:55:01 PM »
I have once gotten two months unpaid leave, and took and additional 5 weeks paid so 13 weeks in total. There was someone at work wko could take over my job. I had worked there for 10 years. I also said it was important for my marriage. This was nonsense, but employers know the employees who divorse and very distracted for some time.

Last year, DH asked for a year off, after his replacement boss had started. That was approved. I also asked for a year off, but didn't get it because I couldn't promise I would come back after a year.


  • Bristles
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Re: Asking employer for unpaid leave? (LWOP)
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2020, 07:11:56 PM »
My company has an official policy that you are allowed to take 2 weeks of unpaid leave per year without any impact on your benefits / employment status / etc. 

I told my boss I wanted to use it, and he said "you really shouldn't.  It looks extremely unprofessional, its a lot of paperwork for me, and it sets the precedent to the other employees that its ok." 

Considering I wanted to get promoted again at some point in the future, I didn't take it.  In my 6 years working for that boss I don't know a single person that used the program. 

In general the work atmosphere regarding time off in America is extremely toxic.  Not only do Americans get SIGNIFICANTLY less paid time off than Europeans, over half of Americans don't even use what little they are given.  Not because they don't want to, because the toxic culture frowns upon it and pushes them so hard they feel they can't.

There are starting to be whiffs of a generational / cultural shift however, so I'm hoping it does change for the better in the coming years.  Whether or not I'll still be employed to enjoy it is another story.   

Anyhow, sorry I couldn't be helpful, as I tried and failed.  I am at the same company still but have a new boss, perhaps I can try again (in a post-Covid year though...).  I'd love to rent a condo on the beach somewhere for a month.....