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jca's avatar

In your workplace, how are vacations granted when more than one person requests the same time period off?

Asked by jca (36059points) July 7th, 2015

I’m not asking because I’m having a problem, I’m asking because in my line of work this is a common issue (and it’s vacation time now so the topic is coming up more).

If more than one person requests the same days or weeks off, does it go to the person with the most seniority? Or the person who put in the request first? Or some other way?

If it goes to the person (or people) with the most seniority, that could be a problem because chances are the same people will get the prime weeks off year after year (for example the days between Christmas and New Year’s). If it goes to the person who put in the request first, is there a “no earlier than” date to put the request in? For example, if they want to put in for the week after Christmas, can the request be put in no earlier than June or October or two months prior to the date requested?

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13 Answers

keobooks's avatar

Where I last worked, it was first come, first serve. I don’t think there was an earliest date allowed. My boss had the opposite problem with us. She’d get mad that we weren’t scheduling any time for vacation and kind of press on us and make us pick times. When it came to the holidays, I think we let the person who had to travel by plane to see her family have the time off. The rest of us had local relatives.

There were only 5 in our department, so maybe it was easier.

ibstubro's avatar

Where I last worked, it was a limit of 3 employees off per day.
Round one, everyone picked 1 day by seniority.
Then 2nd round, etc. until all vacation was scheduled.
Worked pretty well.

Here2_4's avatar

I’m on extended vacation right now. Of the places of my past employment, there was one I thought most fair.
There was an open request time. I believe it was the first two weeks of the fiscal year. Anyone who had specific time they wanted had to put in their request then. As requests came in, they were stamped with time and date. At the end of the two weeks, the requests were scrutinized, and those who were first to request any given time slot were approved. The others were notified they would have to re choose. Newbies got whatever was left over when they got hired.

johnpowell's avatar

My last job where this was a issue it was first got it.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Where I work from the first of the year to the end of March it goes by seniority ,after that date it goes by whoever gets them in first.

Stinley's avatar

We’ve got quite a big team with mostly part time staff, so there isn’t usually a problem. During the summer it’s quieter (I work at a university) so the requirement for staff is lower. It’s a first come first served process or a discussion between the staff to decide. I tell them they have to pencil it in the diary and I make them consult the diary before asking me. That way if there are too many off, they won’t ask.
I try to have different holidays to my immediate boss, since we are the main supervisors but it doesn’t always work so we can go off at the same time. We trust the staff to act appropriately and there are other managers in the building who could be called on to help with a problem.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

To a degree it’s first come, first served. However, if someone has had time off and another person hasn’t, the second person might be given the holiday time. If it’s long service leave or study leave, then you have to apply for it and that will be determined based on a whole range of factors to assess who should get it.

JLeslie's avatar

When I worked retail it usually went to who requested it first. Religious holidays were a little different, like if everyone was Christian I, as the manager, usually asked people with seniority their preference, and usually my staff worked together to make it fair among themselves with seniority pulling rank for one or two of the holidays, but not all year long. It almost never came down to seniority where I have worked, but rather the team talking to each other about when they wanted to take time off and scheduling around each other. I would be horrified to have to tell someone they can’t take a vacation during an important week for them. What if a wedding comes up and that weekend is already taken?

zenvelo's avatar

It’s pretty much first come first served. We have had some days that are popular (day after Thanksgiving, days before or after Christmas) where we turned down people that had it off the year before.

People who have been with the company less than a year are usually at the bottom of the priority for holiday days off.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Is cross-training a possible solution? What about using a temp?

jca's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer: I’m asking out of curiosity.

Where I work (local government), temps are not given the same responsibility and don’t hold the same authority as regular workers. Temps don’t answer to anything other than their tasks, in other words.

Strauss's avatar

I’m retired now, but I seem to remember there being a “no later than” date in order to secure a desired week of vacation. If your request came in after the “nlt” date, it might be rejected, especially if your absence combined with the already scheduled absences would cut the available bodies down to a level which would affect productivity.

Usually, it was first-come, first served; seniority usually only played a part if two identical requests were submitted on the same date.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Thanks @jca. I worked in the hotel industry for 30 years; 25 of them with the same company in over 15 different jobs. While working in hotels, it’s a 24/7/365 environment where forecasted occupancy drives the scheduling process. The hotels I worked for invested the time and money in cross-training if an employee was interested. At a few hotels, they minimally increased the pay for those that successfully completed a cross-training program. It was advantageous both short-term and long-term.

Managers were proactive in letting employees know when would be a good time to take a vacation. When requests were submitted, they were approved on a first come basis. The better managers kept the rest of the team informed when time off was approved. It got me into the habit of submitting a request as early as possible, even if it took months before it was approved. Seniority was never a factor. Flexibility occasionally came into play. “Pat just requested time off to attend a family member’s wedding during the time you requested off. Is it possible for you to shift your dates?” Stuff like that.

Once I started working in the corporate environment (8–5, M-F), ‘time off request’ approval varied by dept. and job. Here again, I don’t recall seniority ever coming into play. If I was told that a request wasn’t approved, I looked for alternative solutions, be it through my re-scheduling or within the workplace. I don’t recall ever being denied time-off.

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