Can I Use My Sick Days During my 2 Week Notice?

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Once you decide you’re done with your job, it can be tempting to use some of your accrued sick days.

However, you may be surprised to learn that your facility may not pay you for these days or may terminate your job immediately if you call in sick.

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Can I Take Advantage of Unused Sick Days After Giving a Two-Week Notice?

Using sick leave after you’ve given your 2-week notice could make you ineligible for rehire and there’s a chance you might not be paid for that time off. The way your facility and HR department answers this question can differ significantly from other facilities across the country.

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Will I Get Fired for Using Sick Days During My Two-Week Notice?

The laws regarding accrued paid time off and sick days are quite different when it comes to using them during your two-week notice.

In general, your employer can do what he wishes when it comes to granting your paid sick leave during this time.

On the other hand, some employers instead choose to allow the sick leave but will not pay you for this time or will ask for your immediate resignation.

Do I Have Legal Rights?

In 24 states, employers are required to pay out unused paid time off when you leave the workplace.

However, there are no state or federal laws related to paying for unused sick time.

An employer may choose to pay you to inspire you not to use your sick time unwisely while you are still employed or may choose not to pay you for your sick time to avoid a significant financial hit.

Keep in mind that if you are part of a union or have a prior employment contract in place, the legalities in these documents will supersede what the HR department wishes to do.

What Is the Ethical Choice?

While legalities will certainly help you make your decision, you also want to ensure that your ultimate choice upholds your moral values.

To me, the ethical choice is to use accrued sick days only when truly sick and unable to complete work safely.

While human resources may still ding you for this choice, you will be able to rest easy, knowing that you made the right choice and were looking out for you own health as well as the health of your coworkers.

To be seen as a responsible, honest employee to future employers, consider how your actions at your current job will reflect on you.

Although you can choose to quit without notice, allowing you to use up your sick days before you quit, this could cost you a job in the future as you will look like someone who does not value his employer.

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What Are My Alternatives?

If you are truly sick during your final two weeks of work, you may not have any other choice than to take some time off and face whatever consequences there may be.

However, if you are not sick, you have a wide array of alternatives.

  • Lose your accrued sick days
  • Ask your employer to consider paying you for accrued sick days
  • Use your accrued sick days before giving your two-week notice
  • Negotiate a sick leave contract policy when you are initially hired

Final Thoughts

While using sick days during your last two weeks of work is certainly a personal choice, I would want to consider how this decision could impact my future job searches.

If you are looking for a new workplace to call home, check out our job board today.

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