How to Tell Your Boss You Can’t Work on Weekends

How to Tell Your Boss You Can't Work on Weekends
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How would you react if you found out your manager was going to take away your weekend off? Would you protest or accept it? If you don’t want to get fired, you should start thinking about ways to communicate with your boss.

The importance of communication cannot be overstated. This is especially true when dealing with bosses who are less experienced in their roles. You’ll need to develop strong relationships with those above you to succeed at work.

Communication skills are essential to success in every aspect of life. When communicating with your boss, you should always be honest and open. Try these simple strategies to improve your relationship with your boss.

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1. Give as much notice as possible.

If you have a meeting that will affect the rest of your week, give your boss as much notice as possible so he can plan accordingly. For example, if you know there’s an important client presentation coming up, let him know early enough to prepare for it.

You should also tell your boss before any big projects come due. If you’re working on something that could impact his business, such as a new product launch, he needs to know what’s happening.

2. Tell him in the beginning.

When you first meet with your boss, discussing any upcoming changes is best. Tell him immediately if you plan to take time off this weekend. He may not think it’s necessary to bring it up, but doing so will help avoid any misunderstandings.

This is particularly important if you plan to spend more than one day off during the same week. It’s hard to say no to a weekend off without giving your boss a warning.

3. Explain the reason why.

Your boss might need help understanding why you need a weekend off, which is understandable. However, explaining the reason behind taking time off can help clear things up.

For instance, if you need some personal time, explain how you feel about spending too much time at work daily. The goal here isn’t to convince your boss but to show him that you care about your job.

It can even go further than just explaining why you need a break. Perhaps you’ve been feeling stressed lately because of a certain project. Talk to your boss about your feelings and whether he plans anything for you.

4. Be frank and firm.

Even though you might like to take a few days off, your boss doesn’t necessarily agree. That’s okay! Even if you disagree with him, you must respect his decision.

However, sometimes you can change his mind by being frank and firm. If you do decide to take a weekend off, be sure to ask permission beforehand. Please don’t act like you’re entitled to it; instead, request that he approve it.

Refrain from lying to your boss too. If you need to take the weekend off, be upfront about it. Letting him down gently can save you from potential problems later on.

5. Request a Meeting.

Sometimes, despite all of your efforts, your boss will stay strong. This is where a little bit of tact comes into play. A good way to get your point across is to schedule a meeting with him.

Informing your boss face-to-face allows you to express yourself respectfully. If you’re having trouble convincing him, consider asking someone else to attend the meeting. This person can serve as a buffer between the two of you.

Another option is to send a written note. Make sure your message is short and sweet. Try something along these lines: “I’d like to talk to you about my situation.” Once you’ve got his attention, be honest and open about your reasons for wanting a weekend off.

Of course, remember to give your boss plenty of notice when you plan to leave. This will allow him enough time to cover for you or assign another employee to handle your workload.

6. Acknowledge your obligation.

As mentioned earlier, it’s easy to assume that you have the right to take a weekend off whenever you want. While there are times when you should take some time off, you also need to acknowledge your obligations.

If you’re working overtime, let your boss know before you head home. Otherwise, he might feel obligated to keep you around until night ends. Similarly, if you’re going out of town during the week, inform your boss so he knows what to expect when you return.

If you truly need to take a weekend off due to an emergency, call your manager first thing Monday morning and explain your situation. He’ll likely respond positively, especially if you tell him the truth.

7. Provide a reason.

When you’re ready to return to work, be prepared to provide a good reason for taking the weekend off. For example, if you were sick, you could say, “I was under the weather this past weekend,” or, “My family needed me.”

This excuse is helpful because it shows that you understand your responsibilities. It also gives your boss a heads-up that you might only sometimes be available.

If you were away on vacation, you could state, “I had a great time!” This simple statement lets your boss know how much fun you had without making any other claims.

Be careful not to overuse excuses. You should avoid using them at all. Instead, try to show your boss that you value your job. For instance, you could volunteer to help with projects on hold, offer to cover for coworkers who are absent, or even ask if you can do more than your normal amount of work.

Your boss will appreciate your effort, but he still needs to respect your need for a break. So, while you might only sometimes be able to take every opportunity to request a day off, he shouldn’t automatically deny your requests either.

8. Understand the consequences.

When you tell your boss that you won’t be coming to work on Saturday or Sunday, it’s important that you fully grasp the consequences.

You should know how many hours you’ll lose if you miss those days. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, full-time employees typically get paid 40 hours per week. But, if they only work 35 hours, their paychecks reflect the difference.

In addition, you should realize that you’ll miss out on potential bonuses or promotions. And depending on your position, you may even lose your benefits.

It’s also worth noting that missing a few weekends won’t necessarily cost you your job. However, if you continue to skip work, you run the risk of being fired.

Remember, you don’t need to give your boss a specific reason why you can’t work on the weekends. Simply telling him that you’re too busy is enough. If he asks for additional details, stick to the facts.

9. Plan for your workload.

Before you leave for the weekend, plan out your schedule. Make sure you have everything in place to pick up where you left off when you return easily.

You also need to consider whether you can complete your tasks by the deadline. If you’re going to be gone longer than expected, you should start earlier so that you finish on time.

If you aren’t sure what you’ll be doing, write down some ideas as soon as possible. That way, you’ll be able to think about what you’d like to accomplish and decide which activities are most important.

Also, make sure that you’ve planned your breaks. If you’re going on a trip, you should include travel times in your planning. Doing so will ensure you arrive home rested and ready to hit the ground running.

10. Explain your plans.

Once you’ve made your decision, you should let your boss know. It’s important to explain your reasons for leaving early.

Start by explaining why you’re taking the weekend off. Then, tell him what you plan to do instead of working. Finally, explain why this arrangement is best for both of you.

If you’re worried he won’t understand, remember that you’re trying to protect yourself from getting fired. So, rather than asking questions, describe your concerns. This will allow your boss to address any issues before they escalate.

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11. Offer an alternative plan.

While you might be unable to change your boss’s mind, you can offer an alternative solution. For example, you could ask to trade shifts with another coworker. Or, suggest that you work during the weekdays and come in on Saturdays.

The key here is to find something that works for everyone involved. While your boss may not be pleased, at least he’ll understand why you’re making the changes.


Not showing up for work is never a good feeling, but if you need time off, you shouldn’t feel guilty about taking it. You should make use of these possibilities to enhance your personal life as well as your professional one.

You’ll feel better about life if you spend more time with loved ones. Additionally, you will be more energized to work on your tasks.

You must always notify your boss of your absence. Having read this, you should feel prepared to inform your manager that working weekends isn’t for you.

If you feel yourself struggling to breathe as you try to say those words, take a deep breath and keep in mind the following: You should first explain why working on weekends isn’t feasible for you, then highlight your unique contributions to the team, and finally suggest ways to address the issue.

Contact our professional resume writers if you’ve exhausted all other options; we’ll ensure your weekday efforts are reflected in your application materials (or PDF).

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