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Am I Legally Required to Give Two Weeks Notice to My Employer if I Resign?

The simple answer to this question is “no, you are not.” In most situations, giving your employer two weeks notice that you no longer want to work for them is nothing more than a professional courtesy. However, there are exceptions to this and for some employees a certain notification period is legally required.

How do you know whether or not there will be legal action taken against you if you do not provide notice?

First and foremost, realize it is a good idea to give notice when you plan to leave your job whether required to do so or not. Some people even like to provide more than two weeks notice. This is not always possible because a future employee will expect you to begin your new job by a certain date, but if you have no future employment obligations or your schedule is flexible, helping your employee prepare for your absence is professionally admirable.

Additionally, there might be provisions in your employment contract that could require you to give a certain amount of notice. Prior to determining how much notice you want to give your employer before leaving your job, it is a good idea to review your employment contract. If you agreed to give two or more weeks notice when you were hired or any time after, your employer can take legal action against you if you fail to do so. There could also be consequences related to your employee benefits should you break your contract.

Communicating with Your Employer

If there are legitimate reasons you cannot give two weeks notice and you are not legally required to do so, it is a good idea to explain this situation to your employer. For instance, if your spouse is suddenly forced to relocate for his or her job and you must follow, explain this information to your employer. Not only will this make it easier for them to understand your perspective, they might also be able to assist you in creating a scenario in which, on paper, it appears you provided notice. Some employers will allow you to use paid time off to cover your last few days or weeks of employment, so your legal relationship with the company does not end until that expires, even if you are no longer performing your job duties.

Even if you are legally required to provide notice to your employer before resigning, you might be given the option of re-negotiating your employment contract or be given an exception to the company policy in an emergency situation. If this is the case, be sure to get the details of the new agreement in writing. If your boss says, “don’t worry about it,” make sure you have something to back it up should there be an issue down the road.

The bottom line is you want to be as professional as possible when leaving a job. Honesty with your employer can go a long way and pave a path to a brighter professional future. Still, no matter how amicable your split from your current employer appears, it is important to protect yourself and ensure you understand both your rights and responsibilities.

If you have resigned from a job and your former employer is threatening you with legal action, you need support. Contact us to schedule a consultation.

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