HR Headaches: When new hires want immediate PTO, what do I do?

Nadene Evans, Senior Manager of Organic Growth at Zenefits
Dec 2, 2021

What do you do if a  new employee wants to take time off immediately?  Nadene Evans, Senior Manager of Organic Growth at Zenefits, describes ways to handle this exact situation. You’ll hear how to think about flexibility and communication and why it builds loyalty. After you listen: Order your copy of our book People Operations: […]

What do you do if a  new employee wants to take time off immediately? 

Nadene Evans, Senior Manager of Organic Growth at Zenefits, describes ways to handle this exact situation. You’ll hear how to think about flexibility and communication and why it builds loyalty.

After you listen:

Ask a SMB Workplace Question and get featured on POPS! The People Ops podcast.

On this episode, you’ll hear: 

  • [00:36-01:00] The situation: A new employee immediately wants time off
  • [01:00-02:22] Options to consider 
  • [02:22-02:49] How to handle coworkers’ concerns over a new employee taking vacation

POPS Star Bio

Nadene is an SEO thought leader and executive with a passion for organic growth. She increases revenue for companies and brands that are serious about investing in long-term sustainable organic initiatives, and she passionately takes on the challenge of holistic demand gen initiatives and strategies that drive results.


Nadene: What do I do when my brand new employee suddenly asks for time off,

Didi: Welcome to POPS. The show that shows you how to shift from human resources, paperwork to people operations for the new world of work. How by answering one question at a time

Today to help answer your question. Here’s Nadene Evans, Senior Manager of Organic Growth Marketing at Zenefits.

Nadene: we all know we’re in a new world of work with the great resignation happening and employees, easily finding comparable positions at competitors, or even elsewhere in new industries.

Flexibility is key. So if you keep them happy, you’ll keep them. And that’s our mantra. When requests like this come up, it can sometimes be difficult to, to handle. So let’s say your new employee starts on day one and day two, and then gets through training or onboarding. And then a few days in everything is going great, but they then inform you or their manager.

Hey, next week I have a trip planned to go out of town for a few days. Well, if their flex time or PTO doesn’t kick in for another month or three or six, or hopefully not a year, it’s going to really be a point of content. So you have several options, right? And you can say, no, you can say yes. Or you can say yes with no compensation.

They like to think there’s a fourth option, which I like to call yes. With expectations. So here’s where you can decide what those expectations are. But here are some common ones that we know of. So for example, they can make up the time upon their return. So you say yes. However, when you come back, make sure that you have a plan in place to make up the work that’s missed.

So others don’t have to absorb your workload. Another thing you could say is ask a coworker to complete your work, perhaps in exchange for doing a task or project. If there’s in return, when they get back to give that person a little relief. And another thing you could do is simply ask her. And promise, and they could just go heads down full on as soon as they return.

So they could say, I do want to, you know, not disrupt everything, but I do want to take this vacation. Please allow me to do this and you could gracefully allow them to do so. So now your job is to decide which of these three flexible options could work and decide if making that employee happy. Despite, perhaps their oversight of not informing you pre hire that they needed some time off, straight away, but that they did want that time off is more important than denying it over rules and just general uncomfortableness.

And maybe not having to deal with questions from the team. There are good ways to handle it. Speaking of uncomfortableness, how do you handle coworkers who might resent the new person suddenly taking time off? Well, the answer is simple and it’s probably the answer to most of these questions.

Communication. So have that new person be responsible for communicating to their new team members, what they’re doing, why and how they’re equitably handling the time off. They might even want to go into where they’re going and why that’s personal to them. And that definitely is their choice. But the point is you can give your employees what they want with a little bit of flexibility, show them you care and value that they have commitments and needs outside of the workplace.

And they will remember that and they will be great. And hopefully continue to work hard and bring value to your organization. 

Didi: Do you have a question for our experts? You can always email me at [email protected] or head on over to for more insights on content for this show and our others. Thanks for listening.


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