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I sent a vacation request a week a ago, and reconfirmed again via email on the 6th day by thanking the manager for the given vacation day, assuming they will be a response to my email either day is approved or not, but I did not get answer, so I took the said vacation on the 7th day anyway.

Later at the end of the same day when I returned home after 8 Hrs, there was a voice mail on my home phone, by the same Manager stating that "your vacation is not approved and whether I am reporting to work"

If email is a normal way to request vacation at my company, how should I have confirmed my vacation request? And now that the vacation is already over, what are appropriate ways to salvage this situation?

closed as off-topic by Jim G., Chris E, gnat, The Wandering Dev Manager, IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 13 '15 at 16:58

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You should have not taken that vacation since it was never approved. What you did was unprofessional, and the best thing you can do right now is come clean to the manager - apologize for your behavior and think about how you can restore his trust in your professionalism.

Whenever there is a communication gap between you and your manager (or employees) always make sure that you close that gap as soon as possible. In the future, you should walk to your manager and ask, give them a phone call or otherwise ascertain that you understood them correctly - sending two emails without getting a response is not getting a vacation day approved.

Making up excuses will likely make things worse. Don't lie, these sort of things happen. Communicate that this was a misunderstanding and work out with your manager how you can improve your communication in the future.

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Apologize. BUT: Have a meeting with your manager and find out what response times you should expect. It is unprofessional of your manager to not have replied at all. (Don't say that to their face though.) You have the right to know what type of lead time your manager expects before you request a vacation. You also have the right to not be ignored. The lack of their response to your followup is especially bad; you were being diligent and it appears they were either especially disorganized or were (for some reason) intentionally ignoring you. Neither can be allowed to continue. Find out if they saw the emails. If they claim they did not, ask if you need to submit requests on paper in the future. (Also, see if your email system has a "read receipt" feature and enable it if it does. Then you can refute them in the future if they claim not to have seen something you have a receipt proving they did.)

You have a right to take vacation days. The company promised them to you and cannot prevent you from taking them just by ignoring you. Be firm yet professional in making this clear to them.

EDIT: I just re-read your post and had another thought. Your manager went out of their way to say your vacation is not approved in their voicemail. When you see them in person, ask them if you could see a copy of that declination. They likely won't have it. Then tell them "If I had received that, I would not have taken off." This will put the onus back on them with regard to the fact that they unprofessionally did not respond to you. If they escalate this to either H.R. or their manager, this is your best defense; that you never received any reply so how could you have known what their desire was?

  • Personally, if I had not received a reply to such a request within a few days I would ask in person or by phone. – DJClayworth Apr 12 '15 at 20:18
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    Not approved does not necessarily apply any action. If the manager doesn't take action to approve it than it stays not-approved, so there is not necessarily a "copy of that declination". There is no implied approval, if anything, there is implied non-approval until you get a firm approval. You do have a right to take your vacation, but your employer also has the right to approve the timing. – cdkMoose Apr 13 '15 at 17:04
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The answers from Benjamin and Kurt give good responses as to what to do now, but I'd take a different tack: what could you have done to avoid getting into this situation in the first place.

reconfirmed again via email on the 6th day

In my opinion, this was the wrong thing to do - if you were waiting for a response to something you sent a week ago and needed urgently, walk into your manager's office, pick up the phone or any other form of direct communication. Email wasn't working to get a response, so don't try the same thing again.

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    This. If you don't get a response to an electronic communication (not clear whether the original request was an email or via some workplace portal type thing), ask your manager in person if possible, or by phone if you're in a different office location. – Carson63000 Apr 13 '15 at 0:34

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