Peace out, I'm going on vacation
September 8, 2009 4:07 PM   Subscribe

Is it ethical/okay/kosher/acceptable to give two weeks notice prior to a week and a half of prior scheduled vacation?

If offered a job this week, I intend to take it ASAP. At my current job, I've already scheduled vacation the 21st through the 30th (like months in advance). Is it okay to give two weeks notice on the 18th, go on vacation, come back for Thursday and Friday of 'week two' then leave forever?

All etiquette googling led to was "take vacation before you give notice" (i.e. so you are sure you are compensated for acquired vacation -- not applicable here) or "screw two weeks, give notice and leave that day" (great, but not what I'm curious about).
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Would you have to train someone to do your job, or is there someone in your office that can competently handle the work while your employers search for somebody new?
posted by dinty_moore at 4:08 PM on September 8, 2009

If you know that you are (genuinely) necessary to train a replacement, and there's no easy other way for them to do this, and you're sticking them with three days instead of two weeks in which to do that, then yes, it's a bit dickish.

But unless you're really required to train a replacement yourself, it's fine. From the employer's standpoint, it's the same notice period regardless, and not having you around probably won't hurt anything.
posted by rokusan at 4:10 PM on September 8, 2009

No, not for most jobs. If you're not leaving under bad conditions, you don't want to burn any bridges. If you have assignments that aren't finished, you will need to pass them on to other people - will three days be enough time for you to properly pass the torch? If you ever use these people as a reference for anything, it will probably be less than sterling.
posted by honeybee413 at 4:11 PM on September 8, 2009

One of my former managers did exactly that... it made some people mad since he had a lot of operational knowledge that had to be transferred to other people. He took his vacation and then had an action-packed final few days at the company. The world didn't explode.

It's probably the same to your company in terms of having time to find a replacement, but if you need to coordinate with the new guy or transfer knowledge to your current coworkers it may be a bit different to them.
posted by adamk at 4:12 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Go to your manager, explain that you have accepted a new position, and work out a plan.
posted by theora55 at 4:15 PM on September 8, 2009 [5 favorites]

Just a heads up depending on your particular state.

I know someone who did that in NYC (told the employer before they went on vacation). The employer thhe called the employee back that same day and told the person that she was fired (and would not have paid vacation). Whether it is legal or not, I have no idea, but just saying, tread lightly.
posted by Wolfster at 4:18 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Well, is it an "at-will" state? That is, is it a state in which your employment can be terminated for darn near any reason, or none at all? Have they done this to others?

Remember, some businesses will walk you out with all of your stuff the day after you announce your intention to resign, or if you are laid off. I'm sure you remember those stories where someone gets called into their boss' office, and when they come out an HR person is waiting for them with a cardboard box. For those sorts of companies, I think it would be ... fair. If your company has behaved in such a fashion in the past, a case could be made for it to be ethical for it to be done unto the company as they have done unto fellow workers in the past.

Is it practical? If you're working at 7-11, sure. Some jobs, people don't even announce their intention to quit, they just stop coming in. Other jobs, not so much. You haven't detailed what your current position is, so we have no way to know.
posted by adipocere at 4:21 PM on September 8, 2009

This sums it up best:

Go to your manager, explain that you have accepted a new position, and work out a plan.

It's more considerate, and karma can be a bitch.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:25 PM on September 8, 2009 [2 favorites]

Yeah be very careful.....My wife had a week of vacation saved up...she intended to use it...she gave her boss 2 weeks notice with the intent of working one week and then being paid for the last week....the boss told her "No, you're fired, here's your final paycheck"....and she didn't get the last 2 weeks. That really hurt our plans for moving across country.
posted by AltReality at 4:29 PM on September 8, 2009

The professional thing to do in all cases is to stay with your old employer long enough to transfer your knowledge, so that their transition goes smoothly. A good employer will make this happen as fast as possible so as not to impinge on your own time. The two-week rule is an HR construct designed to increase the likelihood of a smooth transition, but if all parties can work out a mutually agreeable plan, then it need not be written in stone.
posted by PercussivePaul at 4:31 PM on September 8, 2009 [2 favorites]

Go to your manager, explain that you have accepted a new position, and work out a plan.

I agree that this is the best approach. I have worked with not one but two people who did this, and in each case it created a lot of resentment and stress among colleagues left behind - greater workload, not enough time to get up to speed with projects being passed on, no recourse if questions arose, stuff like signing off on interns professional diaries and bookings at conferences that fell into the gaps, etc etc. Seems unnecessary, as someone said above, to burn bridges. On the other hand, some places will just tell you not to bother working out your notice when you quit so it may be okay.
posted by jamesonandwater at 4:32 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

No. It's not ethical.

1) Make sure your responsibilities are covered
2) Make sure no bridges are burnt during your final two weeks(working)
3) Think about what you want to say during the exit interview

The key thing is, do you want someone doing the same thing to you?

Good luck!
posted by jchaw at 4:33 PM on September 8, 2009

I'd just terminate your employment on the spot, so be prepared for that reaction.

Yes, I know I'd pay your vacation time, anyway, if that's what was previously agreed in the employment relationship. But if there's even a hint of you being inconsiderate about this, intentional or not, I certainly would try to move on without you as quickly as possible, within reason.

And if I didn't have to pay your remaining vacation time, all the better...

And if you left me in a lurch with your timing, I'd be more likely to not give you a glowing recommendation if someone came calling about you. I wouldn't trash you or make shit up about you. But I might just give the terse, legalese version: "Yes, I can confirm he was employed here from XYZ to XYZ. No, I will not share any other details."

You're kind of in a bind. If you quit right after vacation, it'd be only somewhat better. Not really a great way out of this one.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:38 PM on September 8, 2009

This is so dependent on what state you work in and your employment contract.

If I were you, working in an at-will state like Texas and knowing that I will get payed for my left-over vacation time, I'd talk to my employer about what they want me to do and take the money rather than the vacation.

I've seen it go several ways at my company - sometimes two weeks is spun out into a month, a few times the "two weeks notice" was met with the counter-offer to leave by the end of the week, and once the employee was told not to come back the next day. So don't count on two weeks at all.
posted by muddgirl at 4:51 PM on September 8, 2009 [2 favorites]

What you are doing might be considered terminal leave in some organizations and your employer might have policies that apply in your situation. A lot depends on the specifics of your job and any contract or non-compete clause or whatever may apply. On the other hand, if you are a dishwasher in a restaurant none of this applies and management is probably not too concerned about what you do.

My wife basically took her materity leave at her job then left to stay home with our daughter. As it happened her company had just been bought and was goig through a round of layoffs, so no one seemed to mind. She runs into co-workers from time to time and is still on good terms with them. On the other hand I have known people whose job pays them for accrued leave. If your job has such a policy they might prefer to cut you a check for your vacation pay and let you leave at the beginning of your vacation. To sum up, this is the sort of situation that varies greatly from place to place and with the type of work you do.
posted by TedW at 5:06 PM on September 8, 2009

I agree that leaving your co-workers in the lurch isn't the greatest thing to do, but if you already have a job lined up and don't necessarily need the reference; I would carefully consider whether you trust your employer to pay you for your vacation time. When I left my last company, they weren't happy about it, even though I had trained several replacements that then left because of my ex-co's unrealistic expectations. Even so, when I left, not only did I not get the vacation time, they stiffed me out of my last paycheck as well. Yes, I could go after them but they're a small company (6 or 7 people) and the time and energy isn't worth it to me. He knew that I would be too busy at my new job to retain a lawyer and incur the resulting costs. Plus, I wasn't in a financial bind, but given the same choice to make again, I would go on vacation, come back to collect my check and give him no notice at all. The economy is tough and employers can be ruthless. Your situation may be very different.
posted by bdowngold at 5:18 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

This really really depends on state and contract.

At my company, which is in California and publicly traded, all PTO (paid time off) is paid along with your final paycheck whether you use it or not, get fired or not, whatever. This money is protected by law, and the company is required to keep enough money on the books (outside the general fund) to cover this. Sick days/vacation come out of this pool. In this situation, I would just skip the vacation and take the money. Kinda sucks, but the bright side is, hey, new job and big final paycheck.

If you're going to lose your vacation if you don't take it.. rough call. No, it's not ethical to weasel out of your obligations. On the other hand, you did earn that vacation time. I would talk to my boss about this and see if we could come to some understanding. If they aren't being reasonable about it, it would weigh in on my decision about whether to do the "right thing" or not.

As for references, if it's a big company with an HR department, it probably doesn't matter, they generally only give the "legalese" version to avoid liability. Still something to consider though, especially if you wanted to use someone in particular to be a personal reference.
posted by cj_ at 6:30 PM on September 8, 2009

Absent some other mitigating factor, I'll nth that the right answer is to talk to your manager.
posted by box at 8:41 PM on September 8, 2009

In Australia your employer would be legally required to pay out all of your accrued leave at Termination. It seems totally dodgy for them to fire you on the spot to me.

its it rough to only give your employer a couple of days of your time to wrap everything up. - well that depends a lot on your role in the company.

In some industries 'gardening leave' is actually standard practice. Where you will be paid out your notice period to NOT go to work. (and not go to work for a competitor).
posted by mary8nne at 3:17 AM on September 9, 2009

The right thing to do depends on how much responsibility you have in your position. When I worked in management positions, I always gave a month's notice and made myself available via phone or email to my replacement for at least a few months after as well.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:27 PM on September 9, 2009

I had a lower management positon and gave 30 days notice prior to a vacation a week into that period. I didn't get fired and did get my paid vacation.

However, if I'd waited until I returned from vacation to give notice I'd have gotten a regularly scheduled raise and a bonus. I didn't realize that it was company policy to withhold those from any employee who'd given notice to leave.
posted by imjustsaying at 4:06 PM on September 11, 2009

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