Vacation: how soon is too soon at a new job?

Be careful about when you ask for time off, experts say.
Be careful about when you ask for time off, experts say.

The season for summer getaways is fast approaching. But for those who are still wet behind the ears in a new position, is vacation really a possibility? Some companies have a clear policy of when an employee can cash in on paid time off, while others are more vague. We asked the experts just how soon is too soon when you’re a recent hire.

The first ninety days at a company are usually a trial period when the employee gets situated. In most cases, paid time off is accrued after that. “For this reason, it is generally advisable to not take a lengthy vacation, more than two days off, for at least six months. Even better – wait until you have completed your first year at your new job,” suggests Lahle Wolfe, writer for About.com’s Guide to Women in Business.

If you have travel plans prior to starting, it’s best to be upfront about it. “If you know you have a major vacation planned when you receive a job offer, it’s best to be honest about it with the hiring manager,” says Lori Hourigan, Regional Manager for staffing firm Robert Half. “If you explain the situation and give enough advanced notice, most supervisors will try to accommodate your existing plans.”

When you don’t have pre-standing plans it’s important to go into vacation negotiation delicately. “If you must ask at the start of your new job, be thoughtful in not requesting time off during a crunch period,” Tina I. Hamilton, Professional in Human Resources, president and CEO of hireVision Group, Inc. “And defer to the vacation requests of more tenured staff whenever possible. These considerations will pay off for you in the long run, and as you get established, your peers will do the same for you.” Make yourself comfortable at work, live it up when the weekends come, and start planning an outstanding vacation for next year.


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