Is it ok for a supervisor to announce online that a person will be off duty or on PTO to other employees? I feel like it’s no one’s business besides me and said supervisor

  • Flip this around and think about it from the other side. If one of your coworkers is going to be taking PTO, wouldn't you rather know in advance so that if there's something you need from them you can ask for it beforehand?
    – brhans
    Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 12:37

2 Answers 2



Especially if it's normal for that person to be working on that Day/Shift.

"So staffing for next week, please be aware that Kabel will be off work on the Thursday"

  • Completely fine, happens very regularly and isn't a breach of confidentiality.

What would be a problem would be something like this:

"Staffing for next week, Kabel is off getting an STD check on Thursday, so won't be coming in"

That would be an issue.


It is absolutely normal and even required for smooth business operations, to know when you will be at work. If the expectation is that you are at work every weekday, it is perfectly normal to announce that you won't be available on certain days.

That said, it is also normal and in many countries required by privacy laws, that unless it is a direct business function, there must be no mention of why you are not at work. "Alice will not be at work on Friday" is all that is neccessary for business purposes, more information would violate your privacy rights (assuming you have some in your juristiction).

So for example:

Alice is not at work from Monday 3rd to Friday 7th.

Is perfectly fine. This is required information to run the business.

Alice took a week off

Is not fine. It violates your privacy that the reason you are not at work is broadcast.

Alice will not be in the office Monday to Friday next week since she is representing the company at the annual trade show in Japan.

Is fine. It is a direct work function that everyone in the company can (maybe should) know about. What you do in the company as part of your job is not covered by privacy laws.

Please note that I assume reasonable privacy laws. On a scale of EU to North Korea, I'm sure there are shades of grey in between. A common example for "in between" is that in many countries "took PTO" is not considered private enough, but medical information is.

  • 2
    How is saying Alice took a week off violating any privacy? It is just saying when she isn't there, not why. Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 15:41
  • Well, maybe it's my grasp of the English language, but for me, "took off" means she took PTO. And it's nobodies business whether she is sick or took PTO, was suspended or is on bereavement leave. And anouncing some leaves with reasons and some not... well then it's obvious when she is sick and that would be a violation of privacy rights.
    – nvoigt
    Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 16:38
  • 2
    @nvoigt - I too disagreed with your example. Saying someone is taking Holiday IMO wouldn't be an issue. Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 17:50
  • @TheDemonLord And yet, it is. Where I live, the privacy laws are clear. The only information the employer may give is "This person is not at work". Anything else violates their privacy. See my last sentence for that.
    – nvoigt
    Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 18:09
  • 1
    @Questor - IIRC - Nvoigt is from Germany. I suspect there might be some translation connotations as I agree that 'X is taking a week off' in English doesn't necessarily indicate that it's PTO or what type of leave it is. However, I find it interesting that German laws prohibit from saying that it's Annual leave being taken. In NZ - the legal ones is disclosing private information (normally anything related to medical leave) but it can also be considered a Faux Pas if say you announced someone was taking leave for a personal event (say a Wedding) that they, themselves, hadn't announced. Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 21:11

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