I work in a typical 9-5 office and my working days are Monday - Friday. I asked my boss for a 2 week vacation which will be 10 working days to travel for a wedding. He said it doesn't count as 10 days because he considers the weekend which are my non-working days as part of my vacation time. He said my vacation will total 14 days and he won't allow it. I already had this planned out and paid for.
Since this is a board about law, the legal answer is that New Jersey does not regulate vacation pay:
In New Jersey, employers are not required to provide employees with vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide these benefits, it is only required to comply with its established policy or employment contract.
The specific law cited by that web page is this one, which says that "Nothing in this chapter requires an employer to pay an employee for hours the employee is not required to be at his or her place of work because of holidays, vacation, lunch hours, illness and similar reasons."
So whether your boss can count weekend days as part of your vacation will depend on your employment contract and the established policies of your employer. Unfortunately, that's not something this forum can provide advice on.
This makes no sense to me. As you said, the weekends are not working days. So you don't need to request those days off, you already get them.
And even if he can include the weekend in the middle of the vacation, I don't see how he justifies counting one of the weekends at the end as well, so it should be at most 12 days, not 14. If you took a 1-week vacation, would they include one of the weekends adjacent to it as well, calling it 7 days instead of 5? Why shoukld any weekend count as vacation time just because it happens to be right around an actual vacation?
They should only count the number of days that you would have been working but won't be because of the vacation. I think your boss is trying to pull a fast one on you.
Other answers have suggested that you check your employment contract. While it's theoretically possible that it confirms what your boss says, only the most cruel employer would actually write that into a contract. How many people would actually agree to such a contract? You'll never get high quality employees that way, only the most desperate (unless the company has significant compensating benefits). You should ask your boss to show you where it says this in the contract or company handbook.
Depends on Jurisdiction
In germany, holidays are calculated based on your ordinary weekly working days. In fact, we distinguish between workdays (Arbeitstage) and calendar days. It gets even more complicated as technically Saturday is part of the Werktage (working days) but not an Arbeitstag (work day) for all people - Werktag is all days Monday to Saturday while Arbeitstag is any day you are ordinarily Working. A workweek also usually only contains 5 Arbeitstage out of 6 Werktage, but there are regulations when it can be 6/6 and how many hours you may have within that timeframe before violating law... It is starting to get tangential... Back to the question.
How are vacation days calculated?
First of all, vacation is bound to the number of actual work days you have in contrast to the average model employee as dictated by the Bundesurlaubsgesetz - federal vacation law. This law dictates that you have to have at least 24 workdays for vacation for a 6-day workweek. This worker that has all the Werktage as Arbeitstage is the basis for calculation of all other vacations: if your workweek has fewer days, you get proportionally fewer vacation days.
Nowadays, the ordinary employee has a 5-day work week with 5 Arbeitstagen out of the 6 Werktage and gets to have 20 vacation days accordingly. If you work even fewer days, the vacation day allocation is calculated accordingly. Effectively, the law is made in such a way that it offers any employee a minimum of 4 weeks of vacation time a year.
These vacation days have to be allocated to a week in the manner how the workweek is usually structured. Let's assume the month starts on a Saturday.
Adam works usually Monday to Friday. He takes 5 vacation days from Monday 3rd to Friday 7th. He only needs to show up on Monday the 10th. He has 15 of his 20 vacation days left.
Barbara works Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. She takes off her three working days (Mon 3rd, Wed 5th, Fri 7th) in the same week as Adam. She gets the same effective vacation length. However, she only had 12 vacation days for the year, and now only 9 are left.
Both still have enough vacation left to repeat such effectively 9-day vacations 3 more times. But it can get more complicated:
Clara works Wednesday to Friday just so that we start the vacation on the 1st again. She too takes off her workdays in the same week as Adam and Barbara, for 3 vacation days (Wed 5th, Thu 6th, Fri 7th). Like Barbara, she only has 9 vacation days left after the vacation. However, she only has to return to work on Wednesday the 12th, because that's the first ordinary workday after the vacation days she took. Due to her Work days being usually together, her vacation was used more efficiently than Adam and Barbara - something that leads to the intricacies of German employees planning their vacations:
Intricacies of German vacation planning:
Vacation planning in Germany is complicated by a few more things. Especially holidays. These are days off that are mandatory, don't cost vacation days, and can lead to having off quite more bang for your buck if the vacation days are placed accordingly - and they fall to the right weekdays.
Let's take December. 25th and 26th are holidays, so no vacation days need to be deducted for those. If they fall on a Saturday and Sunday, there is generally barely a benefit to most employees - in fact, to get the whole "9 days" off starting on Saturday to the next Sunday costs the full 5 vacation days.
But if they both fall into the ordinary work week of Monday to Friday, having off the effective "9 days" (Saturday to next Sunday) around Christmas only costs 3 vacation days for the 5-day worker.
Some companies say "screw it, we don't work from X to Y, because everyone wants to be away for [reason]" and thus mandate vacation time during that time. This is common around Christmas in many smaller companies, and for Volkswagen in the summer. These company-mandated vacations are taken from the employees' vacation allowance, but calculated including the holiday rules (holidays don't cost vacation days). Such company vacation time is well pre-plannable, and at times might contain an extra vacation day that the employer does not deduct from the vacation quota, but that is generosity of the employer and not mandated.
Special case: Teachers & Schulferien
A special case of vacation is people employed in schools. About half to 3/4 of these are not just employed but have the status of official (Beamte). Neither of the teachers, employed or officials, gets vacation days. They instead get time off by order during the state-mandated school holidays. Not the whole time, because usually some days are still required to be worked for conferences. Teachers effectively get more days off in the year than any normal employees, but have no ability to take vacations when they want at all.
I asked my boss for a 2 week vacation which will be 10 working days to travel for a wedding.
So you asked for 2 weeks off.
He said it doesn't count as 10 days because he considers the weekend which are my non-working days as part of my vacation time.
I mean, that's nice. But you asked for 2 weeks off, not 10 days.
He said my vacation will total 14 days and he won't allow it. I already had this planned out and paid for.
Well, this is the crux of your issue. The semantic question on what days count as vacation days doesn't matter. After all, I assume you don't book a vacation every weekend for two days.
If your boss doesn't want you to take 2 weeks off, then nothing we say here, or nothing in the dictionary is going to help you.
If you want a funny anecdote, the general rule in Finland is that you have to spend allotted vacation days for Saturdays too, even if you only work the usual Mon-Fri schedule. It depends on the collective agreement, though, so not the same for exactly everyone.
Annual holiday is earned in the form of weekdays and is also taken as weekdays. Weekdays are defined as days other than Sundays, church festivals, Independence Day, Christmas Eve, Midsummer Eve, Easter Saturday and the First of May. A full holiday week therefore consists of six days holiday (i.e. including Saturday) even if the employee works a five-day week.
The background of that is how in days of yore, the ordinary workweek was six days, Mon to Sat, and the number of allotted vacation days was based on that. When the transition to a five-day workweek was done, a sensible solution would have been to reduce the number of vacation days by 1/6 accordingly. But, as far as I understand, it wasn't done like that because it would have sounded like a really bad deal; a worker's organization that told their members they agreed to a deal that cut off the number of days off would face a riot.
So, instead of getting e.g. 25 vacation days and spending 5 days for a week off, you get 30 vacation days, and have to spend 6 days for a week off. It works ok as long as you take full weeks off, and the law does assume a continuous vacation time. (Or, actually, one in the summer and a shorter one in winter.) Meaning you can't take just Mon-Fri off and the same again the next week, unless your employer is very generous. If do get to take your vacation in shorter parts, it does get a bit complicated.