Someone on quora asked:
During the twelve years I worked at my previous company, I had never had a leave request denied. Not because my managers are particularly strict or lenient, but because I prefer to take into account the situation at work before applying for a leave. If we are in a critical period where we can scarcely afford a person taking a day off, I’m not going to ask for a leave. Or if I really have to, I’m going to try to arrange to make contingency plans, i.e. see if someone can cover my responsibilities while I’m away, or see if some targets or schedules can be adjusted to accommodate my leave. As an employee, it is part of your obligation to take non-emergency leaves responsibly.
That being said, life is not all obligation. You are not banned from just not going to work that day. Of course there may be consequences. You may lose a day’s pay. It may reflect poorly on your evaluation as an employee. It is up to you to weigh those consequences against your desire to attend your nephew’s birthday. If you decide that you can’t take those consequences even to attend your nephew’s birthday, then you have already made a decision as to how to prioritize obligation versus your personal desires. That is what life is - a series of decisions of prioritization.
Of course, the above assumes that your employer is reasonable and is willing to let you take a day’s leave if the workload can accommodate it. If your employer is the sort that like to be unreasonable and keep you around just to squeeze more work from you, then you might have bigger problems than just leaves, and you might want to consider looking for employment elsewhere.
One other thing: if your employer is unreasonable about this sort of thing, but you decide to stay anyway, next time don’t bother giving him a detailed reason for your leave request. Just say you have personal matters to attend to. Or if you feel exceptionally sneaky, just pretend to be sick on that day, or pretend to have an emergency - weigh your personal ethics if it is acceptable to you to deceive your employer in this manner, if your employer is not particularly reasonable you may be able to justify it to yourself