I started a new job recently. I may need to take a couple days off work for medical appointments. I feel like two days is rather strange. The details are there's a pain in my mouth and not sure if a GP or dentist would better address the issue so I booked an appointment with both. Should I explain this to my manager when requesting the time off? Or just request the time off without details? I once worked in a place where the manager didn't want to hear any medical details because he felt it was in violation of the company policy to keep medical details confidential. Should I mention if the doctor (who I'm seeing first) can fix it then I don't need the second day off for the dentist?

Also I'm not sure if this would count as a time off request or if doctor appointments get treated as more urgent. How can I find this out? Should I ask the manager "for doctors appointments should I fill out a time off request or is there a different process?". This is a busy time of year for the work and I would like to minimize my unavailability.

  • 3
    What's your location? The laws guiding what the company must do might impact how much the company wants to know and who in the company should know it.
    – SemiGeek
    Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 14:38

2 Answers 2


Should I explain this to my manager when requesting the time off?

I suggest you keep as much details out as you can. Which medic you are visiting should not impact the chances of obtaining the permission (a medical urge is an urge regardless of the type).

Start mentioning it's a "medical appointment". If they require more information, say it's with the dentist, but most likely they won't (can't) ask such details.

This will depend on your local laws and regulations, as well as with your company policy.

Also I'm not sure if this would count as a time off request or if doctor appointments get treated as more urgent. How can I find this out?

In your contract should be specified the number of "sick leave" days you have available, otherwise it should be specified in your local labor laws.

If not, consult HR or Boss.

Most places I've known have a fixed amount of sick leaves, so most likely this should be the case with your company.

This is a busy time of year for the work and I would like to minimize my unavailability.

Remember to mention this detail to HR or you boss, that there is a chance you can do this in one day.

If you manage to solve this in one day, just show up the second day to office normally, and be sure to notify of such to HR/boss so you have only one sick day leave taken into account.

  • @nick012000 usually everything depends a bit on location, although I failed to find where in the post OP mentioned they are from Australia
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Dec 25, 2019 at 5:49
  • @nick012000 no advice is applicable to everybody... If you have an answer to add feel free to do so, there is plenty of space still, and I am sure OP will welcome it :)
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 17:16

I'd say that 2 days of medical appointments in your first month really shouldn't be a huge big deal. 2 days in your first WEEK would be.

A couple of approaches:

1 - If this pain is really bad and you need to get help from two back to back appointments in one week ASAP, consider adjusting your start date so you can fit in both appointments before you start on the new job. If they ask, you easily say you wanted to take care of a few personal matters in a way that didn't impact starting off work with a great attendance record.

1.5 - if this can't be accomplished logistically, but the pain is still really bad - give as much advance notice as possible - even if that means calling up your recruiter or the hiring manager BEFORE you get into the office, to clear the specific days you need off. It goes much better to say 3 weeks before your starting week "I need these 2 days in my first week off..." than to show up on your first day of work and say the same thing.

2 - Space them out just a little - either do 2 on the same day (often impossible), or do them on different weeks - and if possible, try to book at least one so you can work a half day. There's a big difference between being out 2 days in 1 week and having a week or more of time in between them.

And as @darkcygnus says - less is better when you are new and establishing report (or, many times, even after that). As your old boss said - there can be times when it's hard for a given boss not to be biased, or to cross the boundary between professional or personal - so it's often easiest not to open the door. Often "Doctor's/medical appointments" is really good enough. 2 days really doesn't warrant more.

Now... if you go to the 2 appointments and then find out that you will need a long and time-intensive course of treatment - you may need to then sit down with your boss and set expectations. You still aren't obligated (in most countries) to disclose your health condition, and many bosses won't want you to do so. It's often better to go with the details that most impact your ability to do your job - for example:

I have a minor health thing going on, I'm OK to work at our normal pace, but I need to get some treatment taken care of. The impact is that 2 times a week, I need to take a long lunch to cover a 2 hour appointment - I'm thinking of doing that on Tuesday and Thursday and then working a bit later to cover the time. I expect that I'll only need to do this for the next 8 weeks? At that point, I should be able to let you know if I need to request anything else.

When I had lower back spasms and got physical therapy for them. But it could easily have been all sorts of other things.

With a boss I'm personally close to, I may be asked and/or offer to share more than that - but at that point, personal details should be mutually consensual (ie, only share if both you AND your boss seem to desire it). That sort of choice usually makes more sense when the two of you have gotten to know one another.

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