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How to Negotiate Paid Time off

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Paid time off can mean the difference between enjoying a leisurely vacation and wondering how you'll pay for it. If your initial job offer didn't include paid time off, you might still be able to negotiate for it, particularly if you're willing to give up something else.

Research Industry Norms

Prepare to negotiate with your employer by having data ready on what's typical in your industry. If you're still deciding whether to take the job, it can be helpful to point to other companies that have offered you paid time off as part of your vacation package. Highlight data that show the benefits of paid time off. For example, a 2014 Oxford Economics study of paid time off in the U.S., found that workers who took vacations were more productive when they returned to work. There was an economic benefit, too, as people who took their paid time off put money back into the economy, particularly the travel industry.

Highlight Previous Work Results

Employers are hesitant to give paid time off when they believe it will diminish company productivity or cost too much money. Counter this by emphasizing how paid time off has benefited your previous employers. For example, you might highlight the project that you completed two weeks early because of your vacation. If your employer knows you've successfully handled paid time off in the past, he may consider giving it to you.

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Offer a Trade

You're more likely to get paid time off if you give up something else that costs your employer either time or money. For example, if your employer pays for everyone to get a gym membership or to join a professional organization, you might request paid time off instead, particularly if the cost to your employer is about the same. If your employer needs you to work overtime or you are available to work a weekend every few months, consider offering this as a trade.

Make Paid Time Off Easy

Find ways to make paid time off easy for your employer by devising a plan for meeting a deadline before you leave or delegating your duties to a reliable, qualified coworker while you're gone. Be prepared to pick up extra duties for other employees who take paid time off, so the delegation process doesn't yield a net loss for your employer. Then present your boss with your plan and deliver on each promise.

About the Author

Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.

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