“If I am required to give ‘four weeks’ notice when I resign, can one of those weeks be a vacation?”

Question: I have a vacation planned for later this month. However, I just received a job offer and I plan to accept it.

My company handbook states that, to receive earned but unused vacation, a departing employee must give at least four weeks notice before leaving. I can give four weeks, but week #3 of those four weeks would be the week of my planned vacation.

Will this legally count as part of my four weeks, or will this give them an “out?”

         Allen, Texas

Answer: Aaron, the answer to your question starts with Texas law: it does not require an employer pay accrued but unused vacation when an employee departs, but does require that, if the company has a policy on this subject, it must follow that policy uniformly. Incidentally, that is quite common; the law in many states says the same thing.

So, your question is not one that can be answered by “the law,” but rather by the details of your employer’s employee handbook and/or company policy book. 

If there is a clear policy that would permit you to do what you want to do, your employer must follow that clear policy. If there is no policy on that issue, then your employer may have an “out.”

In my experience, what you contemplate – that you will take a vacation during one of the four “required weeks” of notice – would be entirely acceptable at most companies.

My suggestion: Visit Human Resources, ask about the details of their policy so you can use that information to wisely plan your life. Do not be afraid to be open and honest about what you would like to do. Even if the policy does not say what you’re hoping it says, perhaps you can find a way to negotiate to get what you want. Better you have clear answers now, than a dispute later on.

When leaving employment – for any reason – ALWAYS ask to be paid for Accrued But Unused Vacation. Use our “Model Letter Requesting Payment for Accrued but Unused Vacation – with 12 Great Reasons.” It shows you “What to  Say and How to Say It.”™ To get your copy, just [click here.] Delivered by Email – Instantly!

Hope your employment transition is a smooth one. Thanks for writing in. 

           Best, Al Sklover

© 2010 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.

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