Career Advice

How To Tell Your Boss You Are Not Working Weekends

Most businesses have their busiest times on the weekends. Time Use Institute did a study many years ago that concluded that Saturday is by far the busiest day of the week in certain industries, such as retail.

Friday is the second busiest day. Therefore, some businesses consider Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as the weekend, while others only count Saturday and Sunday.

Nevertheless, these establishments need workers to cater to their customers during the weekend. You might need to have the entire weekend off or just a few days within the weekend for various reasons.

Maybe you have a religious preference. Perhaps you lack a childcare provider on the weekends, or you have another job that you work at that time. Either way, you’ll need to know how to tell your boss you are not working weekends. Here is some tips and information regarding that matter.

How Many People Work on Weekends?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 35 percent of people work at least one weekend day. Some work all weekend long. That’s a significant enough percentage to gather that weekend workers are needed.

Why Working the Weekend Is Important

Almost all business establishments operate during the weekends. The weekends are when the majority of customers and patrons are off from work. High-school and college students are also off from school at this time, and that means businesses can earn more money.

However, they need to have enough workers to accommodate the load of customers who visit on the weekends. Therefore, their objective is to have as many of their staff members as possible available to work on those days.

Does Your Boss Have to Give You Weekends Off?

Your boss is not required by law to give you weekends off or any other particular day of the week off. He or she has the right to schedule you according to the needs of the business. Therefore, it might be in your best interest to apply for jobs that will allow you to work Monday through Friday.

How to Tell Your Boss You Are Not Working Weekends

You’ll need to tell your boss you are not working weekends so that he or she can make the necessary schedule adjustments and find other workers to cover the shifts when you will not be there. You must have a strategy to do it appropriately so that the end result doesn’t harm you or the company. Here are some tips for doing that effectively:

Tell Him in the Beginning

The best way to approach your need to have weekends off is to tell your prospective employer before you get hired. Being upfront is the best way to go because it prevents you from having to leave a job position you just got. It also protects the potential employer from losing money by training a worker who will leave when his or her schedule is undesirable.

It’s more productive to address the issue in the interview before you take a job. You may not get hired for the position you request, but you won’t waste any of your time or the employer’s time, either.

Find an appropriate time to let the interviewer know about your scheduling restrictions during the interview. You can ask right after the employer asks you if you have any more questions for them. Mention that you have a scheduling restriction, and you are unavailable during those times.

You can even spare yourself the time necessary to complete an interview by completing a thorough availability sheet for an employer. Some applications include it as a part of the hiring process. Therefore, they do not invite candidates to interviews who do not meet the business’s needs regarding availability.

Request a Meeting

You’ll need to discuss the matter with your supervisor if you’re already in a position and have started the job working weekends for the employer. This will be tricky because employers don’t like to lose workers who have been working weekends for them.

Discussing a restricted weekend schedule is something that requires an interruption-free meeting with your boss. You’ll need to explain to this person that you need certain days or times off and give that person a good reason to accommodate you.

You might be able to bargain with your employer on another day or time. For example, you can bargain that you will work every Sunday if he will give you Saturdays off or vice versa. It might work in your favor if the employer has workers who request that day off a lot.

It’s best to request this conversation at a time when business is slow. That way, the manager can focus on listening to your needs and seeing if he or she can accommodate you.

Generally, most employment arrangements are at-will situations. This means that either you or the employer can terminate the employment agreement at any time. Employers are not obligated to give their workers off on weekends. Furthermore, they have the right to require that workers come in on one or all weekend days.

The only time they have to honor a weekend day off request is if it has something to do with your religion. Even then, you may be required to provide the employer with additional information regarding your faith practices to ensure that your request is a genuine one.

Explain the Reason Why

It’s your prerogative whether you want to tell the employer the reason you need weekends off or not, but it might help your cause. Some regulations require employers to respect workers’ requests for weekends off.

For example, employers must accommodate you if your request has something to do with a religious practice. There isn’t much wiggle room with that law unless your request will harm the business significantly. Even so, you may be able to get some help with the issue.

You can decide whether to clue the employer in if your request has something to do with lack of childcare or problems with transportation. However, you must understand that the employer may choose not to hire you if you mention it. If you’re already employed there, they could choose to let you go.

Be Frank and Firm

If having weekends off is vital to you, you’ll need to get the point across to your managers that it’s non-negotiable. If not, they may try to test you one day, and the situation could end badly for all parties. Speak up sternly and let your boss know that you will not be working weekends and that you can’t bend on the matter because of how important it is that you have such days off.

Tell the person that you may have to depart from the company if you are backed into a corner with a weekend work schedule. Do not allow your boss to guilt you into agreeing to something you cannot do, and do not take threats lightly. You have the right to make decisions in your best interest and protect your best interests.

Use this information to learn how to tell your boss you are not working weekends. Check to see what kind of protection you have and then decide what you’ll do if your boss doesn’t agree to grant you those days off.

In the end, you may have to decide how important it is for you to have those days off and make some adjustments if your boss doesn’t make it happen for you.

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About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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