• Geraldine Farache

Can Employees Request PTO After Giving Notice?

Updated: Aug 10

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

Can I Take Vacation Days 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.

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 Week 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.

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.

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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