How to Know How Much Vacation Time You’ll Get

A vacation should be fun, not something you have to battle for or worry about. Many Americans are taking fewer vacations from work out of fear. For the most part, they don’t want to leave their work behind and make themselves look lazy, thus squandering their chances of getting a promotion.

That’s a bit scary. Vacations are good for your physical and mental health, and by taking less time off, you’re just going to be driving yourself insane. While you shouldn’t be going on vacations all the time, you need one every once in awhile to let everything go and have some fun.

Of course, there has to be a balance. Employment is a give and take. Employers have to be happy about the production of their employees, while employees have to feel that their workplace is stable and comfortable.

All of this is to ask: How much vacation should employees get? If you’re looking for a new job, here are a few ways to find out:

Know How Much Vacation Time is Offered

When searching for jobs through classifieds, always figure out how much vacation time is offered. Decide whether it seems fair to you. Find out if the vacation days paid for, or if your bank have a dry spell when you’re on vacation.

Compare the vacation days offered by the company you’re interested in to the days that other companies that have similar positions offer. A good way to do this is to look at Glassdoor or local job sites to see what kind of vacation is being advertised for similar positions. It won’t give you a perfect picture, but it will be better than nothing.

Know That Vacation Time Isn’t Required

There is no rule telling employers to give their employees vacation leave. It’s a voluntary action, and one that separates the good companies from the bad. A good company will offer vacation time. Your boss knows you need a break to have fun. Maybe they used to be an employee, and they sympathize with you. Or your boss could see you as a machine that doesn’t need any time off.

So there’s no law requiring employers to give out vacation time. And if your employer is taking advantage of this, it’s time for a new job. Luckily, 73 percent of employees have vacation time, so odds are the job you’re applying for does too, but there’s still a chunk of jobs that don’t. A quarter is still a decent-sized number.

Know It Depends on Your Position

Some companies will offer vacations, but only for full-time employees. It does make sense in theory, as part-timers are working less, and thus have more time off. However, they may have other jobs, and thus have no time off. So it’s a sticky situation.

The amount of vacation time offered often depends on how valuable you are as an employee or your seniority with a company. If employers want you to work for them, they will make your offer package more appealing. If they want to keep you around, they offer incentives, like increased vacation time after each year you’re with the company.

Look at the Averages

When trying to see if your has a fair amount of vacation days, look at the stats. If you’ve been working for a year, they usually give you 11 days. For five years, it’s 15 days. Ten years, you get 17 days. Twenty years, you get 20. This doesn’t mean your employer has to meet these averages. In fact, they may offer you more. But it’s a good way to figure out how much vacation time you should deserve.

Your Time Off Can Affect Your Vacation

Did you get sick for a few days, or have a family emergency? Many jobs will combine your sick and personal days with your vacation time. Thus, if you have a year of bad luck, you may end up with no vacation time. For you, that’s a bit unfair. Being at home with the flu isn’t the same as being at the beach. Try to find out whether your employer has separate days off depending on the situation.

See if the Vacation Days Add Up

Your employer may offer a certain amount of vacation days per year, and if you don’t use them all, they won’t roll over to next year. This is called the use it or lose it policy. This means you can’t save up days for some kind of big vacation, and this may either be nothing to worry about or a big problem depending on the circumstances.

Know You Can Negotiate

When you’re being interviewed and discover that your potential company offers no vacation time, or very little, don’t be afraid to negotiate. If you’re being interviewed, odds are they see something in you, and they won’t want to let go of a valuable potential employee.

Some bosses won’t be hurt if you ask for some extra days off. But if your boss isn’t budging, maybe you should try another job.

It’s All on You

If you want vacation time, don’t sign up for a job that offers little to none. Don’t think, “If I work hard and impress my boss, I’ll get time off!” While this can happen, your boss may take advantage of your hard labor and make you stay longer. You should never feel guilt tripped into not taking a vacation, and you should get some days off to relax.

While some see vacations as a sign of laziness, they’re a necessity for a good performance. Remember this when applying for a job.