I found a new job recently and I haven't got any vacation yet that I can take.

I talked to my boss already to take some vacation at the end of the month for a very good reason -to pass my Master's degree exams-.

However next week I found out that my partner has an extremely important medical meeting with a doctor and doesn't want to go alone.

I would like to ask to take the afternoon but don't know how to tell my boss about the reason without revealing my sexual orientation or lying.

Is there any way to go about this?

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    When will you accrue vacation? Can't you just ask for a half day now for a personal matter to be deducted from the vacation once you accrue it? Jun 8, 2016 at 11:30
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    If you have separate sick leave, is it possible to use that instead of vacation? Different companies may be more or less strict on when you can use sick time for people other than yourself, though. Jun 8, 2016 at 11:31
  • Is the time you are taking off unpaid or advanced leave (take it now, earn it later)? I'm assuming you told the boss the reason for the first one, but now don't want to tell the boss the reason for this one. Is that correct? If you feel that since you've set a precedent of informing the boss, you could always just say "for an important Doctor appointment".
    – mikeazo
    Jun 8, 2016 at 11:31
  • @MartinSmith I will accrue vacation at the end of the month. Well yes I can ask as you said, but is that the right way, no, the best way to go about it? The time I'll take for exams is advanced leave and that is correct that I told him the first one and don't want to tell him the reason for this one. I do indeed feel that I set a precedent...
    – Jose Luis
    Jun 8, 2016 at 11:35
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    @Joze docters appointment. Thats all the Boss needs to know. If he has more questions reply it is kind of private or I rather not say. Jun 9, 2016 at 11:19

3 Answers 3


I would like to ask to take the afternoon but don't know how to tell my boss about the reason without revealing my sexual orientation or lying.

Is there any way to go about this?

It's perfectly reasonable to ask to take the afternoon "to attend to a personal matter".

Most employers won't probe any deeper, unless for some reason that is a critical time for you to be in the office.

  • 9
    If they do probe you can always say "close friend" without lying or revealing sexual orientation. Jun 8, 2016 at 13:12
  • I agree with @DoyleLewis. I have often said "a friend" or simply "someone" when I didn't feel like revealing it was my boyfriend.
    – David K
    Jun 9, 2016 at 12:05
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    You can go more specific like "it's a medical issue I need to attend to" and that's it. Once managers hear "medical", they'll know to back off. If they push you can remind them that this is private and personal.
    – Nelson
    Dec 4, 2019 at 2:10

Just say you have to go to A doctor's appointment and need to take a half-day. They likely won't ask questions beyond that, and you're not lying, even though it's not YOUR doctor's appointment.

  • This. You don't say whether you are in the US, but generally it's acceptable to use sick leave to care from someone other than yourself. Even if you aren't married, I don't think boyfriend/girlfriend would get you in trouble. But you never have to say why you are taking time off, just what kind of leave. Doctor's appointment is enough info. Jun 10, 2016 at 17:01

For how to request the time off, as others have already said, just say it's a doctor's appointment without specifying whose or its nature, or say you need some personal time. Generally, such requests are respected without further inquiry, at least in my experience.

Something not said so far is that you could offer to make up the time if the nature of your job and your workplace (and your schedule) allows. Thus you might be able to avoid using vacation or sick leave (or the more generic paid time off if that's what your employer grants). You might want to tell the boss something like "I need to be out of the office on Thursday afternoon. If it's okay with you, I will make it up by coming back into work that evening." Or whatever works for you. You may even find that - if your job allows and you're not otherwise missing meetings or other important work events - you don't need to bother saying anything, although I don't recommend assuming that, especially when you're new. In my job I can often just leave for whatever non-work event I need to be gone for and make up the time as my schedule permits.

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