The holiday season is an occasion for families and friends to get together, for taking vacations, and for workplace responsibilities to wind down until after the New Year. Even with the festivities in the air, bear in mind, time off from work is not automatic.

On the contrary, employees should be careful about taking extra liberties during the holidays, unless they are expressly cleared with a supervisor or manager first. Do not assume that you can take off just because others are. Even though it is a festive time of year, regular work requirements may still apply and be expected.

Reviewing your human resources policies is a great way to avoid any consequences of perhaps inadvertently taking advantage of your employer. They are there for a reason. From a business owner’s perspective, the holidays can be a challenging time to keep the business running while employees are looking to leave en masse. At no other point during the year than holidays do so many employees want time off all at once.

Keep in mind that there is no requirement for companies to offer time off, paid or otherwise, although many companies do. Christmas Day, December 25th, and New Year’s Day, January 1st, are almost universally recognized as work-free holidays, unless specific duties apply such as for hospitals, police, and firefighters.

Other opportunities for time off may come down to standard vacation days. This can be unclear sometimes given that vacation leave hours are often used at various times during the preceding eleven calendar months. It is recommended that you check with your human resources officer or benefits representative prior to seeking leave approval from a supervisor.

Vacation leave is often used to buttress standard holiday off-days, in order to string together an extended holiday leave. There is nothing wrong with this, although not everyone receives the same amount of vacations days. Vacation leave is often based on seniority, with more leave allotted to employees with more time at the company.

The best way to secure the holiday time off you want is to plan a leave request long before the holiday season approaches. The sooner you ask the better. Many companies operate on a first come first serve basis.  By arranging your leave request around December work deadlines you are showing the type of respect for your company’s interests that will put you in the best position for approval.

If you are an employer, or an employee, and have questions on these or other potential employment issues, do not wait to contact us for a case evaluation. We are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help you get the legal representation you need!