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Can Employees Request PTO After Giving Notice?

Updated: Feb 29

Can Employees Request PTO After Giving Notice?

Taking Vacation During Notice Period: Everything You Need to Know About Requesting PTO After Giving Notice

Are you ready to move on to a new job?

You might be ready for a whole new career, or maybe you’ve reached the end of the road with your current position, and it’s time to finally call it quits.

However, you have vacation time built up and are wondering how that plays into resigning from your job.

You don’t want to lose your days off, but can you take vacation during a two-week notice period? Do employers reserve the right to deny your request?

In this blog we discuss PTO and resignation, offering our top tips for requesting PTO after giving your two-week notice.

Table of Contents

What is PTO and How Does It Accrue?

Paid Time Off, commonly known as PTO, is a valuable benefit offered by many employers to their employees. It allows workers to take time off for various reasons, such as vacations, personal time, or illness, while still receiving their regular pay.

Accruing PTO:

Accrual is the process by which employees earn PTO over time. The rate at which PTO accrues typically depends on your company's policy, but there are some common methods. Here's a brief overview of how PTO accrues:

  • Time-Based Accrual: In many companies, PTO accrues based on the length of your employment. For example, you might earn a certain number of hours of PTO for every month or year you work for the company.

  • Hours Worked: Some employers tie PTO accrual to the number of hours you work. You might accumulate a specific amount of PTO for every hour worked.

  • Frontloading: Some companies may offer a lump sum of PTO at the start of the year, known as frontloading. This allows employees to plan their time off more flexibly.

  • Years of Service: PTO accrual may increase as you accumulate more years of service with a company. This rewards long-term employees with more PTO.

Understanding how PTO accrues is crucial when planning your notice period and deciding when to use your accrued time off.

Can You Take PTO After Giving Notice?

Yes. You can take vacation days after giving notice, but this is generally only acceptable when you give a reasonable amount of notice.

If you give a month’s notice, your management is less likely to be bothered by you taking a day or two off — especially if they are preplanned days.

That being said, taking vacation days after giving notice may not always be wise. Let us explain.

What Does the Law Say? Do You Get PTO If You Quit?

From a legal standpoint, if you've earned, but haven't used, eight vacation days, you can use those eight days as part of your two weeks’ notice of resignation. This is due to the fact that the law in most states says that earned, but unused, vacation time must be paid out to employees who are leaving. So, legally speaking, the answer is “yes.”

But from the ethical side, it can look a little different.

In reality, the whole purpose of giving an employer two weeks’ notice is to give both of you plenty of time to tie up any loose ends before your departure. Giving notice is a gesture of respect for your employer.

So if an employee gives two weeks’ notice and part of it is their vacation, the employer may feel disrespected or left without adequate transition time. They may be less inclined to provide you with a good reference down the road.

Can I Use PTO During My Two Weeks Notice?

It depends — but this is usually frowned upon by most employers.

Some employers may even have policies saying “no” to requesting PTO after you’ve put in your notice. Without a policy like this, it could be easy for employees to abuse the system.

For example, they may put in their two weeks’ notice, take the next two weeks off as PTO, but actually start their new job immediately. Not only are they getting paid double, but it also negates the purpose of putting in the two weeks’ notice.

PTO Payout When Quitting: Do You Get Paid for Vacation Days If You Quit?

When you decide to leave your job, one of the critical questions that may arise is whether you'll be compensated for your unused vacation days, often referred to as a PTO payout. This payout can significantly impact your finances as you transition to a new job. Let’s delve into the factors that determine whether you'll receive a PTO payout upon quitting and what you can expect.

If I Give Two Weeks’ Notice, Do I Get My Vacation Pay?

Providing a two-week notice is a common courtesy when resigning from a job. However, whether you'll receive your vacation pay after giving your notice can vary. Understanding the rules and expectations regarding PTO payout when you follow the standard two-week notice practice is vital to making an informed decision about your departure.

What States Require a Payout for Unused PTO?

When it comes to Paid Time Off (PTO) payouts upon leaving your job, the rules and regulations can vary significantly depending on the state in which you work. Some states have specific laws in place that require employers to provide a payout for accrued, but unused, PTO when an employee departs from the company. These regulations are designed to protect the rights and benefits of workers.

Currently there are 20 states that require PTO to be paid out upon termination, and 3 states that have made “use it or lose it” vacation policies illegal and require PTO payout: California, Colorado and Montana.

Keep in mind that these laws can change, so it's wise to consult with your state's labor department or an employment attorney for the most up-to-date information on PTO payout regulations in your area. Understanding your rights in your particular state will help you make informed decisions when transitioning to a new job or career, especially regarding the withdrawal of accumulated PTO.

Can an Employer Set Their Own Accrual Rules for PTO?

Employers typically have the ability to establish their own policies and rules regarding the accrual of Paid Time Off (PTO) for their employees. PTO accrual policies can vary widely from one company to another, and they may include factors such as the rate of accrual, maximum accrual limits, and whether accrued PTO can be carried over from one year to the next.

It's important for employees to familiarize themselves with their company's PTO accrual policy, which is typically outlined in the employee handbook or employment contract. Understanding these rules can help employees make informed decisions about when and how to use their accrued PTO, especially when it comes to planning their departure from the company.

Keep in mind that state laws may also play a role in governing certain aspects of PTO accrual, such as whether unused PTO must be paid out upon termination.

Are There Any States That Let Employers Deny Vacation Pay for Unused Hours?

In the realm of employment law, there are states that grant employers the discretion to deny vacation pay for unused hours under specific conditions. It's important to be aware of these states and the circumstances under which such denial is permissible. Here's an overview of the key factors to consider:

  • Employer Policies: In many states, employers have the freedom to establish their own policies regarding vacation pay and unused hours. If the company's policy clearly states that unused vacation time will not be paid out upon termination, they are generally within their rights to deny vacation pay.

  • Collective Bargaining Agreements: In some instances, employees covered by collective bargaining agreements or labor contracts may have different rules regarding unused vacation pay. These agreements may override state laws, so it's essential to consult these agreements for specific details.

  • "Use It or Lose It" Policies: Some states allow "use it or lose it" policies, where employees must use their accrued vacation time within a specific period or lose it. In such cases, employers can deny vacation pay if employees fail to use their accrued time within the designated time frame.

  • No State Regulations: A few states do not have specific laws regulating the payment of accrued vacation time upon termination. In such states, employers often have more discretion in determining their policies for vacation pay.

3 Considerations to Keep in Mind When Requesting PTO After Giving Notice

#1: Your Employer Can Deny Your Request

As an employee, you can submit a PTO request after giving your two weeks’ notice. But keep in mind that your employer may very well say “no.”

Using paid time off during your last two weeks of employment makes it much trickier for your employer to find the right replacement.

It is also important to keep in mind that in most places the two-week period is a formality. Employment is “at-will” and the working relationship can be terminated for nearly any reason and by either party, at any time.

You may decide to quit and walk out, or your employer may decide to accept your resignation early, prior to the fulfilment of the two-week notice.

#2: Requesting PTO During Your Two Weeks’ Notice May Seem Unprofessional

Once you have put in your two weeks’ notice, requesting PTO may come across as unprofessional.

Most employers use that two-week window to find and train your replacement. They are counting on you to be there to get things wrapped up and to help create a smooth transition for the new employee.

You may be putting the company or your department in a bind — leaving your employer with a bad final impression that could easily disqualify you from getting a positive reference should you need one down the road.

#3: Instead of Using PTO During Two Weeks’ Notice, You May Be Able to Cash Out Those Days

Depending on where you live, you may be able to cash out your remaining days instead of using PTO during your 2 weeks notice.

24 states require employers to pay their employees for any leftover PTO along with their last paycheck. And some businesses may offer this benefit, even if it's not required.

On the flip side, 26 states are not required to pay out unused sick time, in which case you’d want to try to use all your days before turning in your two weeks' notice.

The bottom line: find out the requirements for your particular state.

More and more companies are avoiding having to deal with the complications of vacation time vs. sick leave by offering PTO that employees can cash out in any way they choose. Not only does this give employees options, but it also improves overall employee health — while saving companies billions of dollars.

Want to know more? Sorbet is the innovative PTO solution that helps employees take charge of their vacation time. And it’s free for businesses.

Contact us today to schedule your demo.

How to Handle Taking Vacation Before or During Your Notice Period

It can be intimidating to ask for time off, especially If you have already put in your two weeks’ notice, or are planning to resign in the near future.

Here are a few ideas for how to ease the stress and have the best chance of getting to take your vacation or PTO before you leave.

Talk With Your Management or Human Resources Team

Before you put in your two weeks’ notice, especially if you're on good terms with your employer, sit down and have an open conversation with them.

Let them know that you are planning to resign from your position, and you want to be as instrumental as possible in finding and helping to train your replacement.

Pose the question, “Can I use PTO before quitting?” Then discuss what might be the best option for making that happen — both for you and your employer.

If they express hesitation or don't give their full approval, it may be best to avoid taking vacation during the notice period.

It’s always a good idea to leave a job on good terms whenever possible. Plus, you never know whether you will cross paths with this company again.

Take Your PTO Before Putting in Your Notice

Discussing your plans for resignation as far in advance as possible is always the best option. But it isn’t always possible.

If you are aware that you will be resigning, but you do not have the option of giving more than a two-week notice, you will want to take your PTO before you put in your notice.

Learn Your Company Policies Regarding PTO and Resignation

No matter what your plans are, it is vital that you learn any company and state policies regarding your PTO.

  • Are you working for a “use it or lose it” company?

  • Do you know your state's laws when it comes to cashing out any unused PTO?

  • Have you looked over your company’s payout out policies, and whether you are able to use your PTO after giving notice of your resignation notice?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” you will want to sit down with your HR department and find out what their policy is in regard to paying out PTO days.

Then you can decide whether you should use it or “lose” it.

3 Tips to Help You Avoid Burning Bridges If You Choose to Take PTO During Your Two Weeks’ Notice

If you opted for taking vacation during your notice period, here are a few ideas for leaving on a positive note. Doing so may help to ensure a positive reference in the future or leave the door open if you decide you want to return to the company in the future.

#1: Have All of Your Responsibilities Handled During Your Time Off

It's never cool to leave your company in a lurch.

Just like a teacher creates a lesson plan for a substitute teacher to follow in her absence, give clear guidelines to whoever will be stepping in for you while you are gone.

If possible, find someone to fill in for you, and give them the details needed in order to effectively take your place.

#2: Ensure Taking Time Off Won’t Compromise Any Projects That MUST Be Done Before You Resign

If you have a project that should be completed within your notice period, but taking leave would compromise it in some way, don't do it.

Leaving your employer in a lurch is never acceptable.

This is the reason some employers have a rule stating that employees can't use their vacation time during their two weeks’ notice.

Always do your employer the courtesy of wrapping up your projects and other responsibilities.

#3: Offer to Answer Any Final Questions Electronically if Anything Comes Up During Your Time Off

You always want to leave a job on the best of terms.

Abandoning your employer to figure things out on their own means that you will most likely be damaging not only your reputation but your chances of getting a good reference.

If you choose to take your PTO during your two-week notice, let them know you’re willing to field any questions that may pop up during that time. If you offer your assistance electronically, it allows you to keep it short and sweet — and to answer at a time that is convenient for you.

Sorbet: Making PTO a Win-Win for Employees and Employers

Let’s face it — the concept of PTO can get beyond confusing. And at times, what is meant to be a benefit can seem like a detriment to both employers and their employees.

Especially in times like these, understanding the dynamics of PTO and inflation can shed light on how to revamp this crucial employee benefit for better financial well-being.

Sorbet revolutionizes the concept of PTO by allowing employees to utilize their PTO the “smart” way, by using it how they want — and when they want.

With Sorbet, employees are encouraged to use their PTO regularly to ensure a healthy work-life balance. Plus, it keeps them — and their employers — from having to worry about what to do with tons of leftover PTO if they need to resign.

Sorbet makes PTO a win-win for everyone!

Schedule a demo today and learn how Sorbet can improve employee wellness while saving costs for your company

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