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We have a salaried employee that has been with the company for 8 months. The employee gave two weeks notice and the last two days of that notice are typically a paid holiday (US Thanksgiving, Thursday/Friday). The employee has already used their automatic vacation days.

Is there a precedent or advice on paying that employee for those holiday days?

We're a small company that has never experienced this before, and this is our first employee that hasn't stayed at least 3 years.


Update: Thanks all, we're paying for the two days. In the future, we may institute a policy for employees that fit this very rare scenario.

  • 4
    What would you want to happen, if you were in his situation? – Terence Eden Nov 21 '14 at 14:46
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    What did the lawyer say that you discussed this with? – S. Kolassa - Reinstate Monica Nov 21 '14 at 14:49
  • @StephanKolassa there's really no need to discuss with our attorney at this point. I'm just looking for a precedent; I'm very open with employees and this one knows that I'm looking into it. – user29822 Nov 21 '14 at 15:50
  • @TerenceEden I would not expect to be paid, honestly. – user29822 Nov 21 '14 at 15:55
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    Be careful, do you want your next employee that gets a new job at the same time of year, to give notice 1 day later, so they are in the office doing nothing the day after the holidays…. – Ian Nov 22 '14 at 11:15
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Advice: Pay the two days. The amount of money that represents is likely to be trivial compared to any bad feedback your other employees hear about.

Every interaction you have with your employees is a way to show exactly what you think of them. If you are going to try and nickel and dime a paycheck then that sets a very bad precedent.

Do you have to legally pay for it? That answer is going to depend on your employee handbook and state laws. So you'll have to consult a lawyer on it. However, from a good employer perspective you really don't want to quibble over something so small.

  • Thanks Chris; this was definitely the way I was leaning. It was the unique combination of an employee with less than a year, has already used their vacation and personal days, and is leaving during a holiday that prompted me to ask the question. – user29822 Nov 21 '14 at 15:52
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    @user29822: To be clear, I do think it's somewhat of a cheesy move on the part of the departing employee to pull something like this. However, I just think you'll look bad if you don't go ahead and pay it. Certainly add a bit to the employee manual to cover this situation in the future. – NotMe Nov 21 '14 at 15:57
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    I think you're assuming that the employee planned this, as if he would have put in notice a week early if not for the holiday. It probably just happens to be when another job offer was solid in hand and the timing is coincidence. – Andy Nov 21 '14 at 17:17
  • @Andy: That's entirely possible. I think the most important aspect is that it appears to not be covered by the employee manual. So the OP should just pay it and then fix the manual, while following HLGEM's advice for any future occurrences. – NotMe Nov 21 '14 at 19:08
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    Also, is paying this employee two days going to be that much more expensive then what it would cost to have a lawyer figure out if you can? – Patrick M Nov 22 '14 at 18:26
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The time to argue this is when the resignation letter was submitted and the date agreed on. If you did not change the date to the day before the holiday at that time, you should pay for those days. As it happens this is exactly what happened when I resigned from a job once. They didn't notice at the time I submitted my resignation that my last day was a holiday and their HR insisted they pay me for it.

State laws and country laws may vary on what is legal, but if you accept the resignation letter without changing the final date, I think you have a moral obligation to pay up until that date. Two days pay may be trivial to a senior manager, but at lower levels of the organization, you could be materially harming this person. Do the right thing and pay him. Next time don't accept the resignation date on a holiday if it bothers you.

8

In the United States you generally as an employer are not required to keep an employee during their notice period. You may have a contract or union regulations that might require keeping them for the two weeks, but in an at-will work situation you can stop paying them the moment they tell you they are leaving.

Generally companies allow the employee to stay so that they can turn over their knowledge to their replacement. They also like to keep paying them to foster good will. Both sides are generally not interested in burning bridges.

An experienced employee would realize that vacations, holidays, insurance, sick leave and floating holidays can be an issue and would want to understand the rules prior to resigning. As an employer you need to set these guidelines in writing in an employee handbook for the next time.

The two days labor for this one employee may be the price of learning for the company. You need to decide if the bad feelings from this employee are worth the risk.

You need your HR team to start the process of documenting these types of events, so that the employee handbook can be updated.

  • The bad feelings on part of the leaving employee are not important. As Chris Lively mentions, it's what your remaining employees think of your interactions with him or her that management should be thinking of. – Lilienthal Nov 22 '14 at 18:30
  • But if the leaving employee thinks you stole two days pay, they might complain to the current employees, write bad reviews, or worse. Which means that the company burned the bridge. – mhoran_psprep Nov 22 '14 at 20:31
  • Agreed, I was just pointing out that if the company would refuse to pay out he's not just risking bad feelings on the employee's part but also risks taking a hit to its reputation and staff morale. – Lilienthal Nov 22 '14 at 22:05

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