Should I tell my soon-to-be employer that my dad is on hospice?
January 27, 2015 6:43 AM   Subscribe

I'm due to start a new job in five weeks. Since I accepted, my dad has been admitted to home hospice. Should I tell me new employer?

I resigned from my current job the week before last and am due to finish there at the end of next week. The start date at my new job is three weeks after that. Originally I was going to use that time to travel. Since I gave notice at my current job, however, my dad has entered hospice. It's unclear how long he we live (a couple of weeks to a couple of months is the best current estimate).

So far, my new employer knows that my dad is very (but not terminally) ill, and that I was in New York last week to help my parents out (I wanted to explain why I wasn't home to receive their offer letter). I'm wondering, now that I'm returning my signed offer letter, whether I should give my new employer the heads-up and tell them that my dad is in hospice? Only purpose I can see in doing that is 1) so as not to surprise them if my dad happens to pass away right around my start date and I'm suddenly asking for time off and 2) maybe they'll volunteer now, with enough advance notice, for me to postpone my start date if that is my preference. My dad's name did come up in the interview (he has a connection at the new company, though it's coincidental/not how I got my foot in the door), so there's been some personal connection established that they may appreciate.

My plan currently (plan A) is to finish out at my current job, then have those three weeks off where I can be in NY with my dad the whole time if I chose to. If he goes downhill in the next couple of weeks, however, it's possible that I'll take FMLA or vacation time to be there, push off my end date at my current job, and return to finish out at some later point before the new job is supposed to start. I prefer a clean break so hope to stick with plan A. My current employers have been flexible and I get the sense that the new employers are, too - it's a brand new position I will be assuming so they won't be uncovered, so to speak. I've also asked this question to, but no response yet (just submitted it). Thank you.
posted by AlmondEyes to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't think this is really any of their business. Nor do I think this really changes anything. They already know your dad is very ill, and you still do t know when he's going to die. What do they get out of this additional information? What do you get (professionally) out of telling them?
posted by J. Wilson at 6:52 AM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'm so sorry.

Once you've sent back your letter, and you're officially hired, you can negotiate your start date or flexibility. Call your new manager and speak to her about your needs, "My father is in hospice right now. As you can imagine this is pretty stressful and I want to start off on the right foot with you. I'll keep you posted, how flexible can we be either with my start date, or with the ability for me to support my family during my father's last illness?"

Your new manager will be understanding and will appreciate your professionalism. Most people ARE people. What you don't want to do is to spring this on someone when you're trying to build a professional relationship with them.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:54 AM on January 27, 2015 [12 favorites]

Yes, I would tell them, couching it as you wanted them to be able to reach you if necessary before your start date at the most accurate number. And then explain that it is because your father is in hospice but you still anticipate the agreed on start date. Proactive communication is professional.
posted by saucysault at 7:00 AM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

I think you need to tell them. You cannot take FMLA in your new position, so you'd have to be taking unaccrued vacation time. I would attempt to re-negotiate your start date now, with the understanding that it might change again.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:02 AM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

If he goes downhill in the next couple of weeks, however, it's possible that I'll take FMLA or vacation time to be there

To take FMLA leave, you must have worked at your employer >1250 hours over at least one year and your employer must have more than 50 employees within a 75 mile radius - source. The existence of FMLA at a new job should not be assumed, although the employer may offer that leave voluntarily without the FMLA.
posted by saeculorum at 8:54 AM on January 27, 2015

The post is saying they'd take FMLA from the current job instead of quitting, not that they think they can get FMLA starting the first day of their new job.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 9:02 AM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oh, I'm so sorry about your dad.

Yes, tell your new company what's going on. Early days with a new employer are important because people are forming impressions of you that will stick. It's much better for them to think of you as AlmondEyes, who is grieving, rather than AlmondEyes, who is odd/cavalier/flakey.

Return the signed offer letter first. Then, write and tell them your dad's going into hospice and that you're pretty sure it won't interfere with your start date and are trying to arrange your time so it doesn't, but that there's a chance it may. They may offer to be flexible or they may just express sympathy, but either way you've opened the door so that if you need to ask later for a change to your start date, they won't be surprised.

Again, I'm really sorry. Best wishes to you and your family.
posted by Susan PG at 1:59 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you, everyone! For your advice and empathy. Susan PG, I think you hit the nail on the head.
posted by AlmondEyes at 7:32 PM on January 27, 2015

« Older Best or most appropriate Statistic method to Use.   |   Is there a semi-automatic program for replying to... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.