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I'm starting at a new job next week. My best friend is getting married in two weeks and I'm the best man. We discussed any planned activities during the job interview and leaving to attend the wedding seemed fine. It's only for one day anyway.

The bride is from another country however. So three weeks after the festivities here, there will be a party/ceremony over there. I also mentioned this in the job interview but described it as nice-to-have. At the time, I didn't think I could go to the party abroad anyway because of my financial situation. So I indicated that this second party wasn't as important as the wedding. It would be nice to go but getting the job is more important. Also, the first weeks of the job consist of required training. But due to lucky circumstances, I'm now financially able to go but it requires one or two days of leave extra.

I want to nip this in the bud early and want to discuss it on the first day. Since I'm working through an employment agency, I wasn't able to communicate this directly before my start date.

Can I still ask for the additional leave or did I already shoot myself in the foot with this one?

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  • It would have been better to have made you're start date a little later and gone to the wedding during the between job period. – user114956 Feb 27 '20 at 9:39
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Can you ask for it? sure. You can ask for anything.

Whether or not it's granted will likely depend on the employer's PTO policies (which we don't know), the workload or other requirements on your team, and the attitudes and disposition of your new boss. And, of course, there's always the risk that even if it's allowed it may impact your reputation, although - again - none of us can really predict it. Your boss may be the type to think, gosh, can you believe that larwain is already taking time off? or they may be happy you're able to use a benefit (PTO) to celebrate with your friends.

If you want to ask, you can always reference the mention during the interview,

Hey Boss, I know I have training during my first few weeks here, but I was hoping to follow up on the discussion we had regarding my potential travel to celebrate my friend's wedding in the bride's home country, in two weeks. Would our PTO policy allow for me to take that time off?

This way, you're reminding your boss that you already brought it up (and he didn't strictly say no, which is a plus) and you're making the question about policy - which should hopefully help focus on "is it allowed" versus "am I irritating you by asking this?"

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    Given the culture (NL) you can actually carry off a lot (I'm Dutch). But it really depends on type of job , company. If granted the leave I'd explain to my colleagues and have a very very good chance that they will have no bad feelings about this. Just as long as I prove my worth before (well a bit of a challenge maybe) and after. – Paul Palmpje Feb 26 '20 at 20:06
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    I followed your proposed conversation and it went very well. Taking some time off is not a problem at all. – Iarwain Mar 8 '20 at 9:44
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Can I still ask for the additional leave or did I already shoot myself in the foot with this one?

You kind of shot yourself in the foot by describing it as a "nice to have" rather than "essential".

That being said, yes, you can ask - and the response is likely to be one of the following:

  • Yes
  • No, because you haven't accrued that much PTO yet (a lot of companies have a policy where you only obtain holiday on a pro-rata rate during your first year, to stop someone taking all their holiday in one go and then leaving a week later during their probation)
  • No, but we can offer you the time off without pay.

Specifically, you should decide in advance how you want to proceed if they offer it to you without pay - and be prepared for the answer being a straight "no".

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  • I would say that having any time off without pay is rather uncommon in continental Europe. It entails a lot of paper work for HR and is not really worth while for just a day or two. I would expect you get one of your first two options. Either they are strict about accrued PTO and the answer is no or they don't care and the answer is yes.I my current job (in Germany) I was told by HR that essentially I already have my entire annual PTO from day 1. Taking off all of January might look weird but nobody cares about a few days. – quarague Feb 27 '20 at 7:50
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Instead of taking leave, you may want to ask about delaying your start date.

People often ask to defer their start date for various reasons, and this one is no worse than many. It does have the disadvantage that you won't be paid for the time you are at the wedding, but you will get paid time off later. This has the advantage (for the company) that any training you have to do can get done with the people joining at the new date.

If you do this make if very clear to the company that you are 100% committed to the job. People do sometimes ask to 'defer a start date" when they are waiting for a better job offer to arrive. You need to remove any suspicion that you are one of those people.

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Personally, I would have approached this from the standpoint that I was going, even if it wan't a certainty. If it turned out that I couldn't/didn't go then that is almost certainly a better scenario from the perspective of your employer than the scenario you're in now. As it stands, I'd do one of two things:

  1. Ask to delay your starting date.

  2. If 1. is not possible, then forego the trip abroad.

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I have previously been in this situation; I was upfront in the interview and stated I had planned travel for the weekend before I was due to commence. They agreed to give me the one day that I would have worked as unpaid leave, which is more than I wanted. I was expecting them to just delay my start date.

As other posters have said, deferring ones start date isn't the worst thing. The best advice any of us can give you is to talk with your employer. They are in the best position to answer this.

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