5 Reasons To Take a Personal Day Away From Work
Updated September 28, 2023
Personal days are benefits that companies offer their employees. You can use a personal day for various reasons, such as voting, attending a doctor's appointment or handling a family emergency. More and more companies are offering paid personal days as an added benefit to their salary packages, so it's important to understand when you should use these days off.
In this article, we identify what a personal day is, discuss the reasons you should take one and list a few tips to follow when taking a personal day.
What is a personal day?
A personal day is a type of time off from work that is often paid. It is different than a sick day, vacation time, family leave or a sabbatical. The number of personal days you get is usually based on your position and the number of years you've worked with the organization.
Companies that offer personal days to their employees intend for these days to be used to handle personal matters. Some people use these days to visit the doctor or attend family events, though you can also use them in emergency situations if needed. No matter the reason, it is important to use personal days in a way that is respectful of your company and the other people you work with.
Reasons to take a personal day
If your company offers paid personal days, there are many occasions where it is appropriate and even encouraged to use them. Here are five main reasons to take a personal day:
Moving takes time. Packing up your apartment or home in your spare time after work hours is a good start, but when it's time to rent a moving truck and transport all of your belongings to your new home, consider requesting a personal day. If you are moving a long distance or relocating for work purposes, this is especially appropriate.
You have a doctor's appointment
To be the best employee you can be, you have to take care of your health and well-being. Visiting a physician, dentist or mental health professional falls into that category. While it may be more efficient to schedule wellness visits on weekends or after work hours, that isn't always possible. For example, if your dentist tells you that the only available appointment is noon on a Tuesday, it's okay to schedule a personal day.
You have family obligations
In many instances, other people are dependent on you for certain things in life. These people may be your children, siblings or parents, for instance. Most of the time, you can manage your family duties before or after work. However, events and special circumstances may require you to take the day off of work. Here are some examples of family obligations that provide good reason to take a personal day:
School play or concert for your child
Doctor's appointment for a family member
You have a family emergency
We all hope to avoid family emergencies. Sometimes unforeseen things happen, and you need to drop everything and attend to the situation. These situations are rare, but if they occur, your boss should be understanding. If someone in your family is hurt or needs urgent medical care, contact work as soon as you can and request a personal day.
You need a break
You don't always need a good reason to take a personal day. Sometimes you may just need to take a break to recharge, especially if you haven't had a vacation or a day off in a long time. It's important to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and this may involve taking a personal day to keep performing at an optimal level and avoid burnout.
You can take a personal day for something as simple as catching up on sleep or relaxing, or you might take one to visit a loved one or do something you love that you don't usually have time to do. Taking time for these kinds of things every once in a while may reduce stress and contribute to an overall feeling of happiness.
Tips for taking a personal day
If your employer offers personal days as a benefit, it's important to understand how to take them in a respectful way. Here are a few tips to consider:
Communicate right away
When working for someone as a part of a team, it's important to communicate as much as possible. If you have a new idea or think you may need extra time to complete a task, you should always talk to the people this could affect. The same is true for personal days.
If you know that your child is graduating from high school in June, for example, it's a good idea to let your supervisor or boss know as soon as you learn the exact date. Telling your coworkers and supervisor about your personal day far in advance will help them plan for your absence, such as ensuring that someone else will be available to cover your duties. If you're taking an unplanned personal day due to an emergency or because you need a break, you should still request the day off as soon as you can.
Be aware of your company policy
Before you request a personal day, you should familiarize yourself with your company policy. Find out how many days you are allowed to take each year, and research what happens if you don't use your personal days. For example, some companies have rollover policies, while others pay a stipend for unused days. Also, find out if your company has a waiting period for new employees. You may not be able to start taking paid personal days until after your first 30 to 90 days, for example.
Keep vacations in mind
Some companies have policies that explain that you can't add personal days on top of your vacation days. For example, if your company offers five days of paid vacation per year, you would not be able to schedule Monday through Friday as vacation time and request a personal day the following Monday.
Additionally, your company may have the same policy regarding paid holidays. Even if this is not a finite policy, it may be an unspoken rule. Other times, a company may encourage using personal time in this manner. Either way, it's essential to find this information out before you request a personal day directly before or after a scheduled vacation or paid holiday.
Actually take the day off
If personal days are included in your compensation package, it's okay to request one every so often. If you do ask for a personal day, be sure to use it. Some people may feel compelled to work sparingly throughout the day during their paid time off. If your personal day has been approved, it is more than acceptable to take a break and get back to work the following day, so take advantage of your time off to focus on your personal life rather than work.
Show your appreciation
If your company offers paid personal days, they expect you to occasionally take a day to recharge or fulfill a family obligation. Sometimes, companies may even encourage the use of personal days.
Even if your boss suggests that you use these work-free days, it's important to show gratitude. When a team member isn't present, supervisors and coworkers may have to work harder to complete tasks or achieve goals. For this reason, it's important to inform your team members and manager about your personal day in advance and thank them for their efforts during your absence.
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