Should a New Hire Be Allowed to Take a Trip?

A new hire started today. He says he scheduled a trip before applying for the new job. He says he has all his reservations and has paid, so he will be taking the trip. He will finish the onboarding process and then go on the trip. What can I do?

To read my answer, click here: Should a New Hire Be Allowed to Take a Trip?

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9 thoughts on “Should a New Hire Be Allowed to Take a Trip?

  1. I think an interview would be too early to bring this because there is too much uncertainty in when you would start, not to mention looking a bit presumptuous about getting the job.

    I would have brought it up when discussing start date. “I would like to start after my trip, but if you have some onboarding session already planning for before my trip, I could potentially make that work. How would that impact my employment status and payment situation while I am on the trip?”

  2. I actually did what this new hire did, in the late 1960’s, in my first “real” job after my undergraduate degree. I completed my very-expensive onboarding training, then went on a pre-planned 2-week vacation — that, unexpectedly, stretched into a 3-week one, due to illness — before actually starting work. My employer — one of the most prestigious social research organizations, affiliated with a major university — didn’t bat an eye, gave me no push-back, fully paid me and gratefully welcomed me back with open arms. Granted, I was inexperienced — and it was unclear during the recruitment, interview and hiring process exactly when the job would start — but I now recognize what a quality employer I had. They, certainly, prepared me for a life-time of premier, very gratifying and fulfilling career positions.

  3. I’d go with option 3. But if the vacation is scheduled, say, a week after the start date, I’d probably send him home with the unpaid leave to start immediately until he returns from vacation. There is no point to trying to train someone on new processes and policies, only to have to re-train them when they return from a two week break and have forgotten everything. I.e., if I’d known about the vacation before he started I’d have arranged for the start date to be after he gets back, so maybe just go with that.

  4. I would send him home, unpaid, until he can start work. He should have done a better job negotiating his start date. I would have severe issues regarding his lack of planning and forward thinking skills. I don’t know if I’d keep him at all… he sounds flaky.

  5. During the interview process, pre-offer, I ask if they have anything in the next 90 days that would knowingly prohibit them from coming to work such as planned vacations, events, etc. Then I have an open discussion with them an evaluate what it is, etc. When hiring someone to fill a role, full time, I expect they would come to work without issue, at least their first 90 days. Barring illness or tragedy of course.

  6. I did #3. We planned our wedding and honeymoon two years in advance, then I got hired a few months before the wedding. It’s unreasonable to expect someone to move their wedding due to a job (in our case doubly so, because my spouse and I were both working for the company). The company agreed to let me take the time off, but without pay. 13 years later I’m still working for them.

    After I got back I occasionally took PTO (the nature of the job is feast-and-famine, so it’s expected), but never sprung something like that on the company again. It’s not even an option–even if I were to divorce and remarry, at this point the expectation is that I’d plan and accrue PTO to cover it.

    So long story short, I think the key factor here is why the employee is taking the trip. If it’s just because that’s one thing; if it’s because of some one-time (or rare) life event and it just happens to be bad timing, that’s something else entirely.

  7. My biggest problem with this issue is when were these plans made for this “needed” trip, especially in today’s age of technology. Of course, there are the obvious as listed in the comments, but during the pre-hire conversation, I would have thought that statements concerning start date would have been brought up unless hiring timing has changed radically for the”orientation” process. Usually, when someone is hiring for a position, they need to fill that position as soon as they can hire the appropriate candidate. Hey, I understand the need to look at all possible job offerings but you have to be upfront with your availability to match the job. I would be very leery of this type of person, who, last minute, tells you that they have plans for expected workdays. The job details the job requirements which include days expected to be at work. No employee should have the right to change those required days without getting some effect on their paycheck. Unless the job offers paid time from day one, then that person should get paid time off. But they also should be told, if it wasn’t made perfectly clear in the orientation process, the correct notice to the work needed for any time off requests. Unless this is a freelancing job that works on job completion versus in-person spent on-site with the team, the company sets the work hours, not the employees. Otherwise, you are an independent contractor who works the hours you set. I highly doubt this applies to the type of job described here.

  8. This happened to me because the recruiter did not communicate my vacation plans to the hiring manager. I brought it up at the offer stage, again when I accepted my offer, and a third time when we were finalizing my start date and orientation schedule. None of it was shared with the hiring manager. So I had a very awkward discussion on my first day.

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