A Reddit post from a disgruntled worker outlines how their boss refused to give them, a long-term employee, time off to recover from surgery, and instead suggested they reschedule the appointment for over Christmas.
The worker explained they were refused time off for surgery recovery despite having only taken three days off in four years and had therefore accrued 320 hours of annual leave to use up.
Yet, despite giving three months notice to her manager, her two-week recovery break, which was due to be scheduled in January, was met with hostility when her boss insinuated the leave would be an inconvenience.
The caption for the Reddit post, which was posted in the ‘antiwork’ thread, read: "Boss told me to reschedule my surgery so it falls over Christmas."
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The unhappy worker then goes on to explain: 'I'm at the last step before confirming my surgery date and made the mistake of mentioning to my boss that I'm aiming for January. She made a face and said "you know, when employees get surgery they try to do it over the Christmas break so they don't need time off for recovery".
The worker explained how she was surprised at her manager’s reaction and went on to justify her request by saying she still had 320 hours of annual leave to use up.
She went to explain: "I never take annual leave because we are a small team (20) and I'm her executive assistant.
"It's been almost 4 years and the only time I have taken annual leave was 3 days for a wedding over a year ago. Now apparently, I should spend my Christmas in pain recovering from surgery, so I don't inconvenience her."
The post garnered nearly 400 comments, with users calling the manager both “selfish” and “sociopathic”. Some users even suggested the employee look for another employer because of the interaction.
Scared to ask for annual leave
It’s not uncommon for staff to feel nervous about asking for annual leave, even though it’s theirs to take. If this is the case in your organisation, you’ve probably got a bit of work to do in fostering an environment conducive to wellbeing and adequate rest.
One of the main reasons employees feel apprehensive about asking for time off is that managers respond to annual leave requests with disappointment or a degree of resistance.
In a survey of over 2000 office workers, a third said they're hesitant to ask for annual leave in fear of what their boss will say, and the same number don’t request leave because of the stress of compiling a large handover.
Clearly, asking for leave isn’t something many workers feel comfortable in doing. This is why cultivating a culture that encourages time off and having HR software that allows staff to request annual leave without needing to speak to anyone can dampen the fear associated with asking for time well-deserved time off.