What Would You Do | How to Manage Inappropriate Work Conduct
Situation 5: Your vacation request was denied
You are a full-time pharmacy floater for a national retail chain. After 4 years, you decide that you want to take a 7-day family vacation to Cancun in December. Quickly, you submit your vacation request in advance, exactly 1 year in advance. Unfortunately, the scheduler denies the request since it is too far in advance. To make matters worse, corporate policy states that no vacation requests are addressed until one month prior to the requested time. You feel frustrated as your family presses you to book the vacation regardless. What do you do?
What Would You Do?
By: Lois Bui, Pharm. D.
To be a floater, one needs to be flexible; flexibility in hours, location, and vacation time. Full-time floaters are given vacation time as any other full time employee. Typically, floaters are granted vacation, one day at a time, on an impromptu basis. This type of scheduling may be tolerable for a single person, but not necessarily for a person with a family.
“To optimize your chances of getting your vacation request, submit a request for a non-peak period. The busiest time for a pharmacy is between December and February, and vacations are not normally granted during this time”, suggests Francine N., a local retail store manager.
In addition, you also have to account for seniority. If there are multiple requests for the same vacation period, the scheduler will favor the pharmacists with more seniority. Sadly, one of the most popular vacation periods for pharmacists is summer.It may be some time before a floater pharmacist can enjoy a long vacation in June, July, or August.
In this case, the likelihood of traveling to Cancun in December is very low. However, there are options available to you: 1) change the dates to a non-peak pharmacy season, 2) wait until you have more seniority to take a long vacation, or 3) submit and book the vacation early. The third option has the lowest success rate; pharmacists have been denied their request and had to cancel the booking. It should be noted that according to travelAAA.com, travel insurance would not protect your booking in the event you were denied vacation time. The insurance covers trip cancellation or interruption due to an unforeseen event, such as inclement weather, illness, death, or the bankruptcy of a cruise or tour line. In this author’s opinion, the first option is the best one. You can ask for multiple dates during the non-peak seasons (summer/winter), ask the scheduler for advice on the best vacation times, and book several vacations to increase the odds that you will get to use it. Airplane tickets and hotel room reservations can be cancelled prior to check-in. Refer to their cancellation policies before booking as some may impose a nominal charge while others do not.
About the Authors and Series
What Would You Do is a weekly column highlighting real life cases involving pharmacist-related work conflicts. Authors include Karine Wong, Pharm. D. and Lois Bui, Pharm. D. Karine has a 10 year history of working in hospital management, and 2 years as a graveyard hospital pharmacist and outpatient pharmacist. Lois has an extensive history working in HR management prior to her pharmacy career.