“If I give two weeks’ notice, can I use my earned vacation time as part of that two weeks?”

Question: Hello, Alan. Can I include my vacation time owed as part of the two weeks’ notice I give my employer? Thank you so much for answering my email, and have a nice day.

Wendy
Tampa, Florida

Answer: Yes, Wendy, you can if you want to, or need to, but I’m not sure it would be wise. Let me explain.

Legally speaking, if you have earned but not yet used, say, four vacation days, then you can use those four vacation days as part of your two weeks’ notice of resignation. That’s because the law in almost every state (though I’m not sure if that includes Florida) says that earned but unused vacation needs to be paid to departing employees. So, the answer is “yes” from a legal perspective.

However, from a “human” or “personal” perspective, I don’t think it is something you should do. I say this because the underlying purpose of giving an employer two weeks’ notice of resignation is to give both you and the employer time to attend to “transition details.” Who will take over your responsibilities? Who will introduce your replacement to your customers? Who will answer your voicemail, and what will they say? These are just a few of the “transition details” that are usually attended to during the “notice period.” Giving “notice” is an expression of respect for the employer’s concerns.

As an employer, myself, if one of my employees gave me two weeks’ notice, and part of that was their vacation, I would not believe I received the time for transition or the expression of respect for my concerns. For that reason, I might feel just a little less inclined to help that employee if they later needed something, such as a good reference, or even a favor of some kind.

If you want to use your vacation as part of your two weeks’ notice period, I would suggest you say to your manager, “Would you mind if I did that?” and be guided by their response. If they say, “No problem,” well, then “no problem.” But if they say, “I’d rather you did not do that,” then I suggest you do not, unless it is absolutely necessary.

Employers remember things like this, and it’s never wise to unnecessarily “burn a bridge.” Especially a “bridge” you may need to “cross” sometime in the future. Remember that whether people respect you is determined in good part by whether you show them respect first.

Thanks for writing in. Hope you’ll tell others about our blog.

Best, Al Sklover

© 2010 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.