A reader writes:
I’ve been working in customer service for a small company in California for the past three years and have just accepted a position elsewhere. I submitted my two weeks notice and letter of resignation and worked out a last day with the manager. Everything seemed to be in order, but my manager has informed me that I will need to come back a few days after my start date with my new employer to sign some paperwork.
She said it is to finalize my resignation and that there is no way to get it done before my last scheduled day. I have seen former employees come back after their last day to do the same but assumed it was because they tended to give only a few days of notice.
My new job is about half an hour away from my current employer, so I was really hoping we could get everything signed and finalized before I left. I don’t want to be the person who has to ask for an extended lunch two days after their start date. But I was also told that even if they could get the paperwork done in time, I would still need to come into the office to pick up my final check (they have a strict policy against mailing it out) and to have a “wrap up” meeting with all the managers.
This was my first job out of college, and to be honest I have no clue what usually happens in this situation. Is this normal?
No, it’s not normal. Your company has no claim on your time once you’re no longer working there. If they want to do a wrap-up meeting, they need to do that before you leave the job.
If you’re still working there, I’d say this: “My schedule once I leave is going to be very packed, and I won’t be able to come back in to sign paperwork or do a wrap-up meeting. I’d be glad to do that meeting before I leave, of course, and you can mail me anything that you need signed, but I won’t be able to return after my last day.”
Regarding their insistence that you pick up your final paycheck in person after your last day, there are two problems with that: California law requires that resigning employees who give at least 72 hours notice (which you did) receive their final paycheck on their last day of work — and also allows resigning employees to receive that final paycheck by mail if they request it. So this “you must come in to pick up your check after your last day” violates the law twice.
I would say this: “Oh, actually, state law says we should issue my final paycheck on my last day.” If you don’t feel strongly about that part of it add, you can add, “But it also allows employees to request that it be mailed, and that’s fine with me if you prefer to mail it. But we need to do one of those two things since I won’t be able to return to pick it up.”
If you’re not still working there by the time you read this, just slightly tweak the advice above. For example: “My schedule is very packed, and I won’t be able to come back in to sign paperwork or do a wrap-up meeting. You can mail me anything that you need signed, and I’ll take a look at it. Also, please put my final paycheck in the mail. I know you don’t typically do that, but California law actually requires it for final paychecks when employees request it. Thank you.” (And if they give you a hard time about that, be aware that California law says those wages were due to you on your final day, and the state imposes steep penalties on employers who are late with that final payment.)
And as for whatever it is that they’re asking you to sign … Don’t assume you have to sign it. Read it carefully and decide if you want to sign it. At this point, they don’t have any leverage and they presumably aren’t giving you anything in exchange for signing, so it’s not a given that you should.