American workplace culture has established a custom for employees to give two weeks’ notice before leaving a job. Giving two weeks’ notice is so prevalent that employees may wonder if it’s required or if they will face punishment for quitting without notice.
If you’re considering leaving your job or aren’t sure how to approach resignation, here’s what you need to know about giving notice.
Two Week Notice Etiquette
Giving two weeks’ notice to your employer before leaving your job is a professional courtesy that is not required in most cases. Many employees provide notice because it provides time for employers to adjust staff workloads or hire new personnel.
However, there may be situations where giving notice of departure is required.
At-Will vs. Contract Employees
Nearly all U.S. states consider employment relationships to be “at-will,” meaning employers and employees can terminate their working agreement at any time, often without any reason. The primary exception to this rule, of course, is that employers cannot terminate employees for a discriminatory or retaliatory reason.
Generally, the at-will employment concept is why two weeks’ notice is not required. It is your right as an employee to end your relationship with your employer.
But, if your employment is subject to a specific contract between you and your employer, you should review your contract before leaving a job without providing notice. The contract may prohibit you from leaving your job at the time you intend to leave, may require that you give advanced notice of resignation, or may explain the consequences you might face if you leave your position before the contract term is over.
When You Shouldn’t Give Notice
Obviously, there are some time when it is impractical or impossible to give notice. For example, if you are asked to do something illegal, you may decide to quit without any notice.
In addition, if you experience a personal emergency or a great opportunity arises that you have to start right away, you might not be able to provide a full two weeks notice. In these situations, it is probably best to provide your employer with as much notice as possible. But your personal circumstances can and should take priority
Other Considerations If You Quit Without Notice
If you leave your position without notice, consider the full picture and consequences of quitting your job. For example, you aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits in most cases if you leave your job voluntarily. You’ll also have to promptly return any of your company’s property, such as business records or computer equipment.
You will also have to consider how changing jobs impacts your health insurance and other benefits. If your employer has 20 or more workers and you don’t start another job right away, you are still entitled to health insurance coverage from your former employer under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). Health benefits under COBRA are also available for your dependents, but you are responsible for paying the full premium cost if you select this coverage. COBRA costs are extremely high, often impracticable for many workers, so you should consider this if you are leaving a job without a new job lined up.
Getting Your Final Paycheck
If you quit without notice, employers in most states do not have to give you your last paycheck immediately. You should receive your final check on the regular payday for last pay period you worked.
If you don’t receive your proper pay at the conclusion of the pay period, contact Biller & Kimble to see if you have a claim for unpaid wages. Even if you are only owed a few hundred dollars, it is money you are owed because of work you did. Our firm will aggressively pursue these unpaid wages from your employer at no charge to you.
Biller & Kimble, LLC Has You Covered on Employment Issues
Providing your employer with two weeks’ notice is primarily a gesture of respect. But if your employer disrespects you or you aren’t concerned about burning bridges, you don’t have to give notice.
If you have been wronged by your current or former employer and believe you are entitled to back pay, the attorneys at Biller & Kimble, LLC may be able to help. We have a record of successfully fighting for workers’ rights across the U.S. and would be happy to review your case.