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I am a software engineer upgrading a piece of manufacturing software on site. This is only my third time going onsite. So to summarize, this has been a nightmare. I'm under-qualified for this particular onsite assignment and I warned the project lead about it. However, I agreed that I would give it my best try. A 2 day project is now going on its 6th day.

A solution to fix the issue was finally found and I'll be driving back home tomorrow, which is Sunday. The drive is 11 hours long and I typically work Monday through Friday. Monday, my company is expecting me to show up for work like any other week, but I've completely missed my weekend. I haven't seen my family since last Sunday and I need to catch up with "life".

Is it typically acceptable to ask for a day off to avoid working 12 days straight(2 driving, 10 working)? I'm salaried by the way.

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    Can I ask which country? If in Europe, the Working Time Directive would most likely be relevant here. – Joe Stevens Jul 13 at 16:05
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    You can typically ask for a day off for any reason whatsoever, if you mean you want to just take one of your leave days (or take it unpaid, even). Or do you mean you want to ask specific that the day off not come out of your paid days off (and you still get paid for it)? – Dukeling Jul 13 at 16:16
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    A day off you worked an entire weekend - does your company not have a policy on TOIL - In the UK at a large company I would have expected the 2 days plus extra to account for OT rates – Neuromancer Jul 13 at 17:54
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    "Monday, my company is expecting me to show up for work like any other week" Who told you? – Sandra K Jul 14 at 1:23
  • Are you getting TOIL / Paid Overtime for these weekend hours? If you are, it's up to you to take the TOIL or your own Annual Leave. They might not agree at short notice though (but most would be understanding). If you're not being compensated for the weekend hours, then it is totally acceptable to expect to get time off in the following week commensurate with the hours worked. (although that's technically TOIL) – Smock Jul 15 at 12:40
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Is it typically acceptable to ask for a day off

Yes, it's typically acceptable to ask.

Be prepared for how you will choose to react if they are not typical and don't grant the day off.

Then, consider if this extra work is likely to be a regular part of the job, and if that fits into your lifestyle or not.

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    Id say as a salaried profession it would be expected not just acceptable – Neuromancer Jul 13 at 17:55
  • @Neuromancer may I ask you which culture is your home culture? That's far from my (admittedly unusual) experience. – Wilson Jul 15 at 8:57
  • You usually get the time off as a comp/toil, otherwise they have to pay you at OT rates. – Smock Jul 15 at 12:38
  • @JoeStrazzere so if you are salaried you just have to do any hours they ask you, without anything in return? – Smock Jul 15 at 12:48
  • @JoeStrazzere I suppose if you know what you're getting into that's the risk you take. There is a similar thing in the UK hours to do the job but there are still maximum hours (possibly the EU working time directive - which some companies will ask you to sign a form opting out of) – Smock Jul 15 at 12:51
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Definitely ask for a day off. Be ready for a few different potential responses:

  1. Monday might not be the best day to take (or whichever day you request). Be ready with some alternatives (e.g., making your next weekend a long weekend or adding an extra day to a holiday break).
  2. No extra days off, but you can take a PTO day. You might not be able to get an extra day off, but you could certainly ask to take one of your paid-time-off days (vacation, sick day, etc.).
  3. "I'll find a way to make it up to you." Your manager/supervisor might not have a lot of options or have the bandwidth to handle a day off for you right now. Let the topic go for a few weeks and bring it back up if you feel like you haven't been made whole.
  4. Nothing to be done. It's reasonable to expect work to go long some times. There will also be (and have also been) days when you can sneak out a little early or take a little longer lunch than would be strictly allowed. Hours can be a give and take that comes in fits and starts.
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This answer may not be 100% relevant due to aspects of your working contract, but maybe you can take some aspects from it. You should really take a close look at employment law where you are from and your contract.

If you've been asked to drive 11 hours to get on-site, that should really be considered to be on-the-job. If you're working significantly beyond your regular hours, you should be getting paid overtime or have time in lieu. If you're getting paid overtime, just use some of your annual leave to take time off. If you have time in lieu, use that.

So, it is no problem to ask for time off. Ideally you should organise this as soon as possible.

Looking forward, you probably need to have a discussion with your boss about having a better arrangement. Let's look at the costs of the business if you drive to be on-site:

  • Fuel costs for the car
  • Wages for the employee for the days the employee is travelling
  • Insurance (or risk) for the employee travelling on the road
  • Extra nights' accommodation

Depending on location and availability, it would probably be cheaper for the business to fly the employee to be on-site (including taxi to and from the airport). In addition, the employee would be able to depart on the first day they are due to start work, and fly home on the last day. This means the employee is less likely to take leave on the days before and days after, and also will have higher job satisfaction.

Doing a rough calculation for where I'm from, the fuel costs alone approach the cost of the plane ticket.

I fully understand the factors will be different depending on where you're from.

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Typically if you've been working all weekend on a major project your boss will want you about on the Monday in case there are any issues to follow up on. I'm the past I've encouraged employees to start late Monday morning and then take the following Friday off in similar situations, perhaps you could suggest that?

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Not only is it probably okay to ask for a day off after working 6 days, in many places it's illegal to ask an employee to work 7 days in a row. Check your local laws (e.g. state, national) and your employee handbook to see if this is true for your situation.

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