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Can You Use PTO During Your 2-Week Notice?

Most employers offer some form of paid time off (PTO). PTO puts vacations, holidays, sick days, and personal time into one simple category instead of handling each situation separately. This makes days off convenient for both the employer and employee. If you are ready to hand in your resignation and still have PTO left over, you’re probably wondering, “Can You Use PTO During Your 2-Week Notice?”

Can You Take Vacation During a 2-Week Notice?

The law in several states ensures that if you have unused vacation days, they must be honored before you leave. This means that you can take them during your two-week notice or receive paid compensation for them. While you are legally entitled to these days off, it may not be the best thing to do.

can you use pto during your 2 week notice

The reason for giving a two-week notice is to provide your employer with time to fill your position before you leave. Your two-week notice is a courtesy, but if you use part of those two weeks as vacation time, you’re not being helpful.

Your employer will still feel as though you’re being disrespectful, and they won’t have enough time to make your departure a smooth transition for the company. You might also be ruining your chances of being able to use your employer as a reference for future jobs.

Read More: Giving One Week Notice Instead Of Two: When and How To Do It

Using Your PTO During Your Two Weeks’ Notice

Most employers won’t appreciate you using PTO during a notice period. They may even have PTO policies in place that don’t allow it. These policies are in place so that it’s harder for employees to abuse the system.

If an employee puts in two weeks and then takes two weeks off, it negates the whole reason for the notice. Rather than having time to fill the position and tie up loose ends, they are left in a jam that is inconvenient, stressful, and unfair to them and the other employees.

PTO scheduled during a two week notice may burn your bridges. As you move forward with your career, you may find that it’s best to leave on a positive note. You might need this employer as a reference one day, or you could end up doing business with them through other companies.

Things to Keep in Mind When Requesting PTO

You can be denied your request for PTO

Can I take a day off during my notice period? Not always. You can be denied your request for PTO. Just because you ask for time off doesn’t mean you’ll get it. They can say “no” or decide to let you go immediately. Your two-week notice is a courtesy. When employed “at will,” you or your employer have the right to end your working relationship at any time without reason. Ask yourself if using PTO during your notice period is worth it.

You May Look Unprofessional

Immediately asking for time off after putting in your two-week notice isn’t professional. Your employer needs that time to find your replacement. They want you there to help wrap up any current projects and train someone to take over your duties. By taking a vacation during this transition, you’re leaving your employer and co-workers in a bind.

Read More: Can You Get Fired During Two-Week Notice?

How Do I Ask About Taking My PTO?

There are ways to ask about your PTO without ruining your reputation as a good worker. Talk to your employer before officially giving your two weeks’ notice. Tell them that you are planning to leave, but make sure they know that you want to be as helpful as possible when it comes to hiring and training a new employee for your job.

After establishing a plan for your resignation, you can then ask about how to best use your PTO. This opens up a discussion on how your PTO can be handled without upsetting you or your employer.

If, at any point during this discussion, they seem like they don’t like the idea of you taking time off during your two weeks, don’t do it. You never want to leave a job on bad terms. You may need them as a future reference, or you may find yourself doing business with them through another job. This is always a possibility if your next position is in the same field.

If Approved, Handle Your PTO Professionally

If you do use your PTO during your two weeks’ notice, there are things you can do to stay on good terms with your employer.

• Make sure all of your duties will be taken care of while you are gone. Write out a detailed plan that covers all of your obligations and how they need to be handled. You can even find someone to cover for you in your absence.

• Make sure any ongoing projects will be finished before your last day with the company. If taking all of your PTO doesn’t allow time for this, take fewer days off or skip it altogether.

• Keep in touch electronically while you’re off work. Let your employer and co-workers know that you are willing to answer any questions they may have while you are gone. A quick email or text won’t disrupt your vacation, but it will certainly help out your company.

If I Give Two Weeks Notice Do I Get My Vacation Pay?

Depending on the state you live in, you might be able to cash out your leftover vacation days instead of using them. There are several states that have laws in place requiring companies to pay their employees for any PTO they haven’t used. If you live in one of these states and it’s in your company’s policy, you might be entitled to payment for your unused PTO.

This also means that in the remaining states, they are not required to pay for unused PTO. It’s important to understand your employer’s policies and the employment laws in your area when figuring out if you’ll be paid for those unused days or not.

Each state has its own unique rules when it comes to PTO. Whether they give PTO compensation or not isn’t always black and white. There are gray areas. Some States fall somewhere in between the ones that have to pay and the ones that don’t. These States have specific conditions in place for when a company can withhold your PTO payment. For example, North Dakota can refuse to pay you for unused PTO in the following situations:

• You leave voluntarily.
• You provide less than five days notice.
• You’ve worked less than one year.
• You were given a written policy on withholding PTO payouts.

Once you decide that you will be giving your two-week notice, the best thing to do is talk to your employer or human resources department. They can give you information specific to your state’s laws and your company’s policy on PTO. This information may affect when you officially turn in your 2-week resignation letter.

If you find out that you are entitled to a payout for your unused vacation days, make sure you follow all of the proper procedures and meet all deadlines in order to ensure your compensation. Clear communication with your employer and careful planning will make your resignation go as smoothly as possible.

Related Article: Can You Take Back A 2-Week Notice?

Your Other Options for Unused Vacation Days

If you ask the question, “Can you take vacation during a 2 week notice?” and you find out you can’t, you do have other options. You can use your PTO before putting in your two week notice to avoid any complications.

If you know far enough ahead of time that you’re leaving, simply request your time off before you plan to turn in your resignation. That way, it’s behind you, and you can focus on helping your employer find a replacement for your position during your two weeks.

Regardless of your plans, review your company’s PTO and resignation policies, as well as the state laws. You can also talk with your HR department about exactly what your options are.

Read More: Do Companies Pay Out Vacation Time When You Quit? Everything You Need to Know in 2024

The Final Words on Using PTO During a Two Week Notice

Unfortunately, there is no cut-and-dry answer to whether you can use your PTO during your two week notice or not. Ethically, it isn’t advisable. You’ll risk getting on your employer’s bad side, which could come back to haunt you in the future. Legally, you may have the right to take those days off, but it could come with some pretty serious repercussions. Before making a final decision, do your research. Talk to human resources and review your company’s PTO policies. You just might be able to receive compensation for that time instead, without ruining your reputation.

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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