During the hiring process (before I accepted the job offer), I mentioned that I wasn't yet aware of the company's vacation policy but that I had planned a couple of trips that would prevent me from being at work and wanted to make sure this wouldn't be a problem. The company's policy is normally to not allow vacation days to be used before the probation period is up, and these days fell before the probation period. I was told these trips would be able to be accommodated but no specific details were mentioned about the policy or how the situation would be handled. I was recently informed I will need to work extra hours to make up for these days. Is this a common way of handling vacation time that was negotiated during the hiring process?
This is completely normal.
When you negotiated your vacation time during the interview, all you were agreeing to was that the company would grant you an exception to the norm and allow you to not be in the office on those days. It sounds like what you didn't do was discuss how your time would be officially managed for those days. Most companies aren't going to just give you free days off. The most common ways of allowing you your vacation are to
- Have you work extra hours so that your total time worked is still a full week.
- Allow you to take vacation days you haven't earned yet so that you have a negative balance.
- Have you take unpaid time off.
I was recently informed I will need to work extra hours to make up for these days, or to use personal time.
You haven't explained how "personal time" is different from "vacation time", but this seems perfectly in line with what I have described. The biggest challenge for you might be having time to work all of the extra hours, if you choose that option. Finding the extra time could be quite a burden depending on the length of your trip.
In any case, it sounds like you need to go talk to your manager in person and try to understand what your options really are.
When negotiating an employment contract, it's important to ensure all communication is documented in writing. If it's past the point where that is possible (which it sounds like it is), then I would schedule time with the individual with whom you negotiated and agreed to taking vacation before your probationary period was passed, and discuss this. After your discussion and assuming this person still maintains this is an okay exception to the norm, document it in writing.
Example: "Thank you for your time today. Per our conversation, during our interview on Month, Day, Year, about my employment at Company XYZ, we discussed previously planned vacations and my ability to take those days off using Paid Time Off before my probationary period was up. Please confirm this is still the case. Thank you for understanding and I'll be sure to stay on track with my work."
Style it how you want, but be sure to get them to agree or approve in writing.