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Can we approve some but deny others?

Question: We have received a lot of time off requests around the holidays, more than we can approve. Can we approve some but deny others?

Answer from Kim, SPHR, SHRM-SCP: In general, yes. We recommend having a policy for time off that explains how employees can request time away from work and what criteria the company uses to approve or deny requests. For example, you might base approvals on the order in which requests came in, the seniority of those requesting time off, the needs of the business, or some combination of these. Whatever your policy, take care that it doesn’t adversely affect members of certain protected classes. If male employees, for example, had their time requests granted more often than female employees, you could be looking at a discrimination claim.

If the holidays are either busier than usual or a more popular time for time off requests, you might consider a rotating holiday schedule or a set up where employees can sign up for an extra day off either before or after the holiday.

It’s also a good idea to specify how employees will know if their request has been granted and ensure that your managers understand your time off approval process.

This Q&A does not constitute legal advice and does not address state or local law.

Kim is a results-driven HR Professional with experience from diverse industries, including but not limited to, transportation, environmental services, staffing, pharmaceutical, market research, banking, retail, software development and education non-profit. In her spare time, Kim enjoys the beautiful view from her home and being with her husband and their German shepherd, Fin.

Legal Disclaimer: OTP is not engaged in the practice of law. The content in this post should not be construed as legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you have legal questions concerning your situation or the information you have obtained, you should consult with a licensed attorney. OTP cannot be held legally accountable for actions related to its receipt.


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