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" Jun 1, 2016 at 12:16
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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. Jun 1, 2016 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, 2016 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, 2016 at 14:36
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    From your description it seems like you'll get paid for ~17 weeks of work by giving up 2 weeks vacation. No wonder why they assume you'd be taking only 20 days instead of the full 30. If my interpretation of what you said is true then "lazy" would be the least of my concerns for what they would think of me for opting for the full 30 days instead of just taking 20 and getting an extra ~17 weeks of pay.
    – Dunk
    Jun 2, 2016 at 21:36

1 Answer 1


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, 2016 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, 2016 at 12:59

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