In our organization when earned leaves are unutilized and reaches maximum number of leaves, new leaves doesn't get accrued. When max limit of such EL reaches, employees are required to write an email to HR to convert these ELs into Medical Leaves. This has to be done every month.

Due to pandemic I didn't use ELs in the past 7 months and didn't pay attention to how many leaves are there in balance. Recently I realized my EL balance was maxed out in March itself. WHEN I told this to HR they simply said don't be so careless next time since it's a big loss and advised me to keep informing every month. They have told that my previous months maxed out leaves cannot be converted to medical leaves. I double checked employee handbook of rules and regulations, no such clause exists that mentions any previous maxed out leaves cannot be balanced. When I told this to HR, they said accrual cannot be done for past months and this is the general practise in the firm.

I have lost 12 days leaves that could have been converted to medical leaves and I was so disappointed to hear this. Now HR is asking me to take advise from HR director regarding g this.

Hence, what would be the proper way to communicate this in email? I have never met HR director and they also don't know me personally since they sit in head office. This has also happened because I didn't keep track of my leaves but none of it was intentional

  • "they simply said don't be so careless next time since it's a big loss and advised me to keep informing every month" Listen to their advice and follow it going forward,
    – sf02
    Oct 12, 2020 at 12:50
  • @sf02, that's probably good advice for a quiet life, but to me the whole process of "writing to HR to convert leave" sounds like a hoop-jump. Why wouldn't the computer automatically trigger such conversion? Is anyone really going to say "I'd rather the leave went down the drainpipe" instead? He's already said such deprivation is not in the company handbook - if so, then he should enforce the entitlements he has.
    – Steve
    Oct 12, 2020 at 15:56
  • @Steve The process in place may be stupid, but it is what is what the OP knowingly signed up for when joining the company. Even in the 21st century there are many companies still handling things like paid leave with very manual processes. OP would be better off making suggestions on ways to automate this process than complaining about something they admittedly stopped paying attention to.
    – sf02
    Oct 12, 2020 at 17:58
  • @sf02, it would remain to be seen whether something not even in the handbook, was something specifically drawn to his attention and "signed up for" at joining time. I must be jaded by breadth of experience dealing with administrators who assume the right to substitute their own procedures and judgments for my contractual or legal rights. And why not complain about prejudicial bureaucracy, thrown down by others like banana skins? It would of course be different if the OP himself had devised, or had input into, the procedures of which he fell foul, but that is vanishingly unlikely.
    – Steve
    Oct 12, 2020 at 19:48

1 Answer 1


There isn't a whole lot you can do. In all US companies that I worked, that's standard practice: when you max out your leave you stop accruing and anything else is forfeit. Your company is actually being generous by allowing a conversion into Medical Leave time (at least in the US that would be better than normal).

Your best approach is to ask nicely and stay constructive

  1. Admit up front that it's your fault: You are supposed to monitor your own vacation time. Promise to do better going forward.
  2. Ask for forgiveness especially since Covid really made a mess of any vacation plans and it's an unsusual situation
  3. Offer a compromise: maybe 50% of the lost leave can be converted as a "one time" allowance.
  4. Suggest that your HR system sends an automated notification to people that max out their accrual. This would prevent any type of re-occurence for the entire company, doesn't cost anything, and would be perceived as a "nice gesture" by all employees.

Be prepared to accept "no" for an answer. Depending on how their accounting is set up it may be impossible or even illegal to back-convert lost leave. If that's the case, simply say "I understand, thanks for listening and thanks for considering". The more professional you handle the rejection the better the next coversation will go and the better an impression you will make.

  • 1
    Short of one side or another losing their composure, how could the conversation go any worse than the earned leave remaining forfeit? Also, why is it considered most "professional" to handle rejection by acquiescence?
    – Steve
    Oct 12, 2020 at 20:04

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