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I'm asking this question on behalf of a friend a mine which wants to remain anonymous.
My friend recently passed an interview for a position and was called the day after to tell him he got the job. This is kind of a big deal because my friend just moved to the country and this first experience would be really good to have on his resume.
The position was advertised as being for 6 months, replacing an employee that will go on paternity leave.
A few days after the first phone call, my friend was called back and they told him they made a mistake and that the position would only be for 4 months, and that his start date would likely be delayed for 2 months.
My friend initialy planned to leave 2 weeks during the summer to go back to his birth-country, for a family wedding (someone close). Everything is paid for already (plane tickets, hotel).
The problem now, is that this holiday period might now happen only a couple of days/weeks after the beginning of the contract. On top of that, 4 months of employment don't grant you the same amout of days-off so he would have to take unpaid holidays (which is fine to him but subject to approval by his new employer).
My friend wanted to tell his new employer about that right away, as he thought he would sign the contract soon. But now that things are delayed, he is afraid that telling them he intends to leave for two weeks might cause them to organize another interview round and that they end up hiring someone else, more available. After all, my friend hasn't signed anything yet.
I'm not sure how to advise him: what is the best course of action in these circumstances ? On one hand, waiting for the last moment to "ask" for these holidays might not be well received by the employer, but on another hand giving them too much notice might give them enough time to find someone else.
In short: How and when is it the best time to negotiate holidays when starting a new job ?