I learned this morning that indeed, The Workplace will allow me to attend Drupalcon Paris without burning vacation time if I'm paying for the conference. I really and truly expected the decision to be taken out of my hands. It now becomes a fiscal decision: cost of travel and accommodation versus benefit of attendance and networking.
Much to think about while I do data cleanup. If you're wondering what in the world this is about, see http://domesticat.net/2009/04/dragon-or-drop