If an employee gives two weeks notice, are they entitled to take their remaining PTO during that time?

It may be tempting to deny vacation time to employees who give their notice to avoid being in a bind, but is it legal?

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Managers are entitled to deny vacation or requests for individuals who have given their two weeks notice.

This practice is justified in that it prevents employees who have accumulated a lot of Paid Time Off (PTO) employee time off from giving their notice and then immediately taking a two week paid vacation, leaving their former employer in a bind.

However, PTO is earned along with an employee’s wage, and therefore employees are often entitled to cash out their remaining PTO hours, to be paid along with their final paycheck.

Specifics

There are 24 states that require employers to pay out employees’ unused vacation time along with their last paycheck, whereas the other 26 states don’t require it. Unused sick time isn’t required to be paid out, but some employers offer this to motivate employees not to misuse it.

Increasingly, companies are avoiding the complications of sick leave versus vacation time by simply offering PTO, which is accrued over time and is treated like vacation time under the law.

Consider

It might be reasonable to deny an employee a weeklong vacation request after they have given their two weeks notice. But you may not want to alienate your employees by denying everything to anyone who has given notice.

Being considerate and supportive of your employees who’ve given notice can set a good precedent that your ongoing employees will appreciate.

Conclusion

You may choose to deny a vacation request to an employee who has given two weeks notice, but it would be wise to try to negotiate with the employee to see if you can find an agreement that will work for both of you.

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