My boss recently sent me an email asking me to choose a period of the year for my vacation time, but specified that I had to choose a 20 day period, while the law in my country determines that the employee has the right to 30 days of vacation and the alternative to choose 20 days is up to him, with the remaining 10 days being paid in cash, equal to a third of his or her salary, and as a trade-off the company has the right to choose when the vacation should take place. Everyone in the company seems to take 20 days vacation and this seems to be the default, however I would much prefer to take a 30 day vacation.

How do I argue for this without coming off as unprofessional, insubordinate, or worse, "lazy", when the option of taking 20 days was apparently already decided in my behalf?

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    Tell him: "Everyone in the company seems to take 20 days vacation and this seems to be the default, however I would much prefer to take a 30 day vacation" – Raoul Mensink Jun 1 '16 at 12:16
  • No response yet. The email read something like "Could you inform us what period (20 days) you would like?" Which I read like they already decided it will be 20 days. – bpromas Jun 1 '16 at 12:21
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    @Zeejet No offense, but who cares what you think is generous? The fact is that he can legally have up to 30 days of vacation and he wants these days. Your personal beliefs and biases are completely irrelevant. – Vincent Savard Jun 1 '16 at 16:29
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    Not sure where the close votes are coming from, this seems perfectly on-topic here. – Lilienthal Jun 1 '16 at 21:39
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    @Lilienthal Firmly agree. Law states I have an option, employer pressuring me to defer that option to them. How to assert my rights without sending negative message? The only close reason I can see is OP used the word LAW. – Myles Jun 2 '16 at 14:36

First thing first - just ask for it. It sounds like your boss assumed you would take 20 days, since that's what is normal for your office. There's no indication that he will argue if you tell him that you actually want to take the 30 days.

However, if he tells you that you are not allowed to take the 30 days, then you need to push back. I don't have a strong understanding of Brazilian employment laws, but this article gives a pretty clear explanation (emphasis mine):

In Brazil, any worker has the right to 30 days of paid vacation per year.*
Employees have the right to get a vacation bonus instead of taking leave from work. This means that up to 10 days of vacation can be converted in actual money. This is the worker’s right and cannot be denied by the employer.

Point out politely that it is illegal for your boss to deny you those 10 days. Make sure to try not to sound like you are threatening him, just reminding him of the law. If he is still insistent, then you need to go to your company's HR and talk to them in more detail.

*This assumes you don't have more than 5 unexcused absences.

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    Definitely talk to the person that has the better understanding of the labor laws. It may not be the boss. – user8365 Jun 1 '16 at 13:13
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    Withotu wanting to sound like a lawyer, the problem here isn't that the employer denies the right to convert 10 days, but that he requires it. However, with that he does deny the worker the primary right to 30 days vacation. – MSalters Jun 2 '16 at 12:59

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