Starting the beginning of next month I will be taking two weeks off from work as paid parental leave. I now have reason to believe I will be receiving a job offer within the next few days here, with the likely start date being the exact day I am scheduled to return from parental leave. This would mean my two weeks notice period and my parental leave overlap one-to-one.

My question is: What is the most professional way to handle this situation? My parental leave is non-negotiable at this point. Would I be burning bridges if I were to take my parental leave at that time? Should I request a later start date should I receive an offer (possible two weeks after my return)? Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

  • 5
    Check your HR policies. Many companies do not allow any leave during the notice period in the US.
    – HLGEM
    May 2, 2017 at 15:35
  • I was on medical leave a few years ago and put in my two weeks at my then employer. I have not heard of any HR policy preventing this. Also, giving advance notice does not require two weeks, this is a popular myth. Notice can be as short as a day or two. Though most employers will see less as unprofessional or impolite.
    – Andieisme
    May 2, 2017 at 15:39
  • Interesting, your handle. I gave a friend that exact nickname when we were housemates in college. May 2, 2017 at 20:45
  • 1
    What country are you in? This question is likely to be very dependent on local legislation.
    – thelem
    May 2, 2017 at 22:31

3 Answers 3


Responses to your questions below.

What is the most professional way to handle this situation?

IMHO Respect the needs of everyone involved and do what you can to meet these needs in a manner that is fair and reasonable. You need to move forward into your new position. Your current employer needs time for you to wrap up assignments or for you to pass the assignments along to someone else in a way that allows them to take over the responsibility and be successful. Your new employer needs to know when you can start.

Would I be burning bridges if I were to take my parental leave at that time? Not necessarily, because whether you burn bridges or not really depends on how well you transfer your responsibilities to someone else in the company. I would expect you to make a reasonable effort to support whomever will end up doing your work.

Should I request a later start date should I receive an offer (possible two weeks after my return)?

Yes, it seems like that would be an easy solution. Your future employer will appreciate seeing you take responsibility for ensuring as smooth a transition as possible.

  • On the other hand..... if the employer were able to bring someone on board during the leave time, that might work better for them than bringing someone back from extended leave, then having them leave a few weeks after returning from leave, since there is usually a catch-up and re-adjustment period. Offer, but they might also prefer to let the two-weeks be during the leave. May 2, 2017 at 20:44
  • If there's any knowledge or skill (or property) transfer that's something you want to ideally take care of while you're still employed there, at least IMO. I'd be annoyed having to tie up loose ends when my focus should be on my new position.
    – CKM
    May 3, 2017 at 2:12

Unless you have a contract or other signed document that requires you to work x days after giving notice, there is no requirement in The United States regarding length of notice period.

In general the employer wants two weeks so that they can arrange for your shifts to be covered, and to give you time to finish some tasks and brief your manager/team. The employer doesn't want you to take leave during those two weeks, because they want you to be available. Of course it works both ways, sometimes they just want the employee to leave.

The issue for you is that if you tell them and essentially give them zero days they will not be happy. If you are OK with that give zero notice. If you aren't OK with giving zero notice, then ask for a delay.

Keep in mind you will likely have to give them some notice so that they can take your badges, collect your laptop and company phone, and conduct whatever other last day procedures they have.


I've been advised that, if you take non-FMLA leave in conjunction with FMLA leave or if you leave the company while on FMLA leave, the leave may then be considered as non-FMLA, and that it's best to come back at least for one day in order to officially end your FMLA leave and process all your paperwork before any of that other stuff.

If you're talking about parental leave given by your company that's not covered under FMLA, it'll depend entirely on your company's policies.

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