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I recently put my two weeks in on the 4th saying my last day would be the 18th. The 18th was supposed to be a PTO day that was put in about 3 weeks ago and approved about 2 weeks ago.

One of my surpervisors emailed me on the 9th saying that due to company policy, I am not allowed to take that PTO in order to help out with the transition, however, when I looked my company handbook, I did not see such a policy.

I am trying to leave on the best terms as possible, considering it was my first job. However, I put that day in since I will be going out of town and I also have a new job that I will start on the 21st.

Do I just leave or try to compromise?

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    "Help?" isn't a question Nicole, what is your goal? Argue why you should be allowed to take that day? Is that day absolutely critical or just a nice-to-have? How flexible are you on this? How much do you care about leaving on good terms? We can only give a general answer if we don't have that information. – Lilienthal Dec 9 '15 at 11:37
  • I have changed my question. I responded back to my boss asking to point out where it was in the handbook so if he could send it to me. I also mentioned I had plans to go out of town that day that I can not change now, but I am all for helping out with the transition. Our handbook is online, so I can see it whenever I want. – Nicole Dec 9 '15 at 13:33
  • Were you planning on packing up your office on the 17th? If not, when did you plan on coming back to pick up your stuff in the office? That would be why you don't use PTO for your last day in a job. – JB King Dec 9 '15 at 16:35
  • @JBKing It's absolutely normal to take the last day(s) as PTO, and yes you would pack up your stuff and say goodbye on the 17th. – DJClayworth Dec 9 '15 at 17:43
  • That's different than my experience where someone may use up their vacation but still have to come into the office on the last day even if it is near a stat holiday as I do recall a co-worker coming in on New Year's Eve that was a Friday because it was his last day in Calgary. – JB King Dec 9 '15 at 18:01
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You can reply that this isn't mentioned anywhere in the company handbook. If it is convenient for you, you can give them the choice of paying you for the extra day of work, or you might offer to stay until the 21st instead - if that is convenient for you.

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Double-check the handbook, expressly checking to see if "Paid time off (PTO)" is expressly excluded from notice periods.

If use of PTO days in notice periods is not expressly and explicitly disallowed, it is unlikely that excluding PTO from notice periods is actually part of the terms and conditions of your contract with your current employer. Their claim is, therefore, unlikely to be well-founded, and so is unlikely to be enforceable.

Additionally, and to re-emphasis how unlikely it is, notice periods of the form "nn months / nn weeks" are by default, referring to elapsed calendar periods and not the number of working days normally equivalent to that elapsed calendar period, assuming that all normal business working days in the elapsed calendar period are utilised as working days by the employee handing in their notice of departure.

And given how convoluted one sentence is compared to the other, you can see why the default is "elapsed calendar period" - a three-word phrase, and not the 38-word alternative.

That having been said, a) I am neither a lawyer nor a Human Resources specialist, never mind one with current professional qualifications for operating in your current jurisdiction. Take these words above with a pinch of salt. b) There are times when being a stickler for the written rules can be inappropriate or counter-productive.

How important is it for you to leave on glowing terms with the current organisation? And by comparison, how important is it to you to leave on precisely that date?

Negotiation and discussion may be a better tactic than standing resolutely upon the letter of the law.

"I'm afraid the employee handbook does not exclude previously-approved PTO from notice periods. It might be possible to for me to stay on for one additional working day if [some condition, or some additional benefit to you]. Is that what you would prefer?"

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