Ask the Expert

Dr. Kathleen Wells is a professional career coach and Director of Coaches That Care. She has coached thousands of clients through the stages of successful career development.

When to Tell Employer that You're Leaving

Q: I am currently on maternity leave from a company that I have spent 2 1/2 years with. Since I have been on leave, another company has recruited me and has given me a exceptional offer. I want to leave my current position but I don't know when the appropriate time to tell my current employer would be. Do I tell them now and loose the rest of my maternity benefits or do I wait and give them my two weeks notice on the day I return from leave?

A: Congratulations on the new baby! These maternity leaves are a huge help but can also present some dilemmas as you have found.

Years ago, the only ethical thing to do would have been to resign right away, but things have changed. You need to do what is best for you and your family. I am assuming since you don't want to lose your maternity benefits that you are one of the lucky few who are actually on a paid maternity leave. Definitely difficult to walk away from that. My suggestion is that you do what you can be completely comfortable with. If the benefits are needed and allow you to be home a little longer with your new child, keep them. Once you go back to work is time enough to resign. If you are in a position that will be difficult to replace, will your new employer allow you to give them one month instead of two weeks notice? If not, then give them a two week notice.

Keep in mind that if replacing you because it is too difficult with you being off on leave were an option, the company would do it in a heartbeat. We all hate to not deal in 100% integrity, but that is the reality of the business world. Take care of your family's needs first and then do the best you can for the company.