How and Why to Give Two Week's Notice

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When an employee resigns from his job, he's asked to give two weeks' notice to notify his employer, Two weeks is the traditional, standard amount of time that an employee agrees to continue working for his current employer before he departs. The employee announces that his resignation goes into effect at the end of the second week after he gives notice. At the end of the two-week work period, the employee is no longer an employee of the firm.

When Two Weeks' Notice Is Not Wanted by an Employer

Two weeks’ notice is often not required nor appreciated by the employer. Human Resources may have standard practices they follow to eliminate the possibility of charges of discrimination, no matter how liked or valued the resigning employee was to the organization.

HR is also concerned with the effect of the resignation on the morale and positive outlook of the employees who remain. Resigning employees might bad-mouth the company on their way out the door, so HR sees no good reason to risk allowing a disenfranchised employee to stay to chat at work.

Possible Employer Standard Practices

An employer could handle a resigning employee in these ways:

  • The employee is not allowed to return to her work area or to say goodbye to coworkers.
  • The employer arranges a time for the employee to meet so that she can remove personal items from the workplace.
  • The employer walks the employee out of the workplace immediately.

If your job is sensitive and you have access to company information, confidential information, and confidential computer systems data, your company may not want you to work during your last two weeks. You may instead find you're escorted out of the workplace when you resign. Some companies have adopted immediate termination as their standard practice upon employee resignation.

In these cases, most employers pay for the two weeks, even though they were not worked by the employee, because the employee offered to work and was turned down. Some standard HR practices don't allow the resigning employee to work even if he was available.

The Employee's Perspective on Giving Two Weeks' Notice

From the employee’s perspective, for companies that don't automatically pay for the two weeks, employees may be better off working to earn the paycheck. They may want the opportunity to clean up all loose ends and say goodbye to their coworkers.

On the flip side, however, the longer you stay in the company following your resignation, the more possibilities exist for something to go wrong for which you would experience consequences. In your last two weeks, you may make a decision you think is perfectly innocent, but your employers may perceive it as a mistake, and then later hold you responsible.

Depending on your job, two weeks’ notice might not be in your best interests. Some career experts recommend that you make your last day of work the day you resign.

Managers' Notice of Resignation

It's recommended that managers give two to four weeks’ notice, but the amount of recommended notice time is also determined by the position. At the same time, if a new employer is waiting in the wings, the new employer may expect a new employee will start in two weeks, unless a different time frame is negotiated.

If your employee has an employment contract that states two weeks’ notice or another variation on notice time is required, the employee and employer must abide by the terms of the contract.