can I give 2 weeks notice when my employer says they “expect” 4 weeks?

A reader writes:

I work at a large healthcare system and I am exploring new opportunities. We have a resignation policy that states that salaried employees (I fall into that category) are expected to give at least four weeks written notice of resignation. Additionally, it includes that personnel records will reflect if someone leaves before the “required” notice period.

In previous departures from organizations, I’ve given a two-weeks notice without too much issue. Any thoughts on giving only a two-week notice with my current employer even with the four-weeks notice expectation?

Yeah, some organizations are fond of announcing that they “expect” longer-than-standard notice periods from employees, without any real ability to require it.

Let’s talk about this in philosophical terms before we get to the practical ones.

Assuming that we’re talking about the U.S., where two weeks notice is the professional standard, and assuming that you don’t have an actual contract requiring longer notice (most U.S. employees don’t have contracts at all), most of the time this is B.S.:

1. First and foremost, two weeks is the professional convention. It’s what our employment system is built around, and generally employers make do with that just fine. (It’s worth noting that notice periods aren’t intended to give your employer time to hire and train your replacement — for most jobs, even four weeks wouldn’t be long enough for that. Rather, a notice period is just supposed to provide time for you to wrap up projects and transition them to whoever will be covering them in the interim.)

2. Expecting additional notice can put employees in difficult positions with their next jobs. It’s not generally too hard to set a start date for a new job four weeks off, but if you want to take any time off in between jobs, now you’re pushing the start date out further, and it can start to get harder to negotiate that.

3. When your employer has chosen not to give employees contracts (again, like most American employers) in order to preserve their ability to terminate your employment whenever they want, it’s pretty absurd to “expect” notice from you that they’re not willing to commit to themselves. (To be fair, if your employer always pays severance when they end someone’s employment — and when that severance always covers at least the same number of weeks of notice that they want from you — this argument holds less water.)

4. Moreover, most employers that ask for four weeks of notice or longer don’t bother to use that time well. A lot of people who give more than two weeks notice find that their employers don’t start on substantive transition work until close to the end of that period anyway.

So there’s the argument against it.

In practical terms, what happens if you give two weeks notice if your organization requires four? It depends on the organization. In some of them, absolutely nothing — sometimes that wording has been in the handbook forever but people give two weeks notice all the time and no one thinks anything of it … or they’d like more notice but are aware they won’t get it every time. In other cases, they’ll warn you that there’s a penalty for doing it — like that you won’t get your remaining accrued vacation time paid out (in states where they’re not legally required to pay it) or that you need to give the full four weeks in order to remain in good standing in their system, in case you apply again in the future. In theory it’s something that could come up in a future reference check too … but “we ask for four weeks of notice and she only gave two” isn’t especially damning.

And really, in every organization I’ve seen that asked for three or four weeks of notice, some people still resigned with less and just explained that their circumstances dictated that, and it goes fine. (It might not go fine if you’re dealing with a really problematic boss … but then the boss is more the problem than your notice period is.) In most cases, people are fine saying, “I know you prefer four weeks of notice, but unfortunately I couldn’t make the timing work out. But I’ll be here until (date two weeks away) and I’m committed to doing everything I can to help with a smooth transition.”

Now, there are some exceptions to this — jobs where longer notice isn’t just desired but is truly an industry norm beyond that one company, or where there’s obviously good reason for it (and healthcare, your field, is often one of those). If you’re in one of those and everyone you work with has always given the full four weeks — or someone didn’t and it caused great scandal — then you probably need to adhere to those norms.

But for most people, longer notice periods are more the employer’s hope than a true requirement* that has consequences for breaking it. The best thing you can do is to know your culture, know what people leaving before you have done, decide how much you care about what penalties (if any) your employer imposes on shorter notice periods, and then time your notice accordingly.

* To be clear, even two weeks notice isn’t a requirement, in the sense that there’s no legal way to enforce it. Leaving without notice can harm your reputation and affect future references — and I generally advise avoiding it except in unusual circumstances — but employers can’t make you stay if you decide to leave faster. 

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{ 153 comments… read them below }

  1. Chairman of the Bored*

    When the teachers in elementary school said they were going to “put something on your permanent record” it was an empty threat.

    Outside of very few closely-connected industries, this is still an empty threat when an employer says it.

    If a job applicant told me they had a black mark from their last employer because they gave 2 weeks of notice instead of 4 my opinion of that applicant would go up, because they were willing to tell somebody making an unreasonable ask to get bent.

    1. GreenShoes*

      I think the problem comes in when this is said in a reference check

      “OP worked here from X to Y. No, she wouldn’t be rehired. No she didn’t give expected notice”

      What the person doing the reference check hears is that OP didn’t give 2 weeks notice and that’s what got them on the do not rehire list.

      1. fhqwhgads*

        Which is shitty because they’re implying you gave no notice at all, rather than that you gave some notice but less than whatever they wanted.

      2. Jake*

        Notices are so tricky.

        My brother received a bad review at his first big time employer that he felt was unfair and inaccurate. For the record, my opinion is that the content of the review was probably warranted, but it was delivered in an overly and unnecessarily harsh manner.

        He left shortly after with no notice. He has since been managing a shop across town for a few years when all of a sudden his original employer had a position open up to manage that whole store (three layers of management above his previous role). He heard rumors that guys in the shop wanted him to apply, so he did… He didn’t even get a call back, and I don’t blame them one bit. When you don’t follow conventions, be prepared for that to follow you around both your industry and geographical area.

        Getting bent out of shape about not giving notice is definitely not an empty threat. The total impact that might have is highly variable, but it certainly will have an impact.

        There is a huge difference between giving a 2 weeks notice when 4 is requested and giving no notice when the convention is 2, though.

        1. TootsNYC*

          Also–remember that it’s not just the HR records or your immediate manager who may be asked for a reference. It may not be people you have given.

          Especially in a specific industry, or a smaller community, the people you apply to might well call up the people THEY know who happened to overlap with you. I had a boss who would do that: “Oh, she worked at XYZ? I did too, and I still know people who work there, who overlapped. I’ll call and ask them, friend to friend, former colleague to former colleague.”

          If your former colleagues are pissed that you walked out and left them with a chaotic situation, or even if they just personally think it’s unprofessional, they’ll tell someone who asks them.

      3. Just Another Cog*

        It is crappy because it implies that the employer was wronged somehow. A former employer walked me out when I gave my two week’s notice because I was going to work for the competition. They sent me a form to sign that detailed my employment there and it stated that they would be reporting that I wasn’t eligible for rehire because I didn’t serve out my notice period. I signed it with that part crossed off because they otherwise wouldn’t pay out my remaining PTO without an attorney being involved. They still stated I wasn’t eligible for rehire when inquiries were made. I never had issues explaining what happened to interviewers, but they are still jerks.

      4. Lyudie*

        They might not even give any explanation. Just confirm dates of employment and that she is not eligible for rehire, which lets the reference checker imagine all sorts of things much worse than giving two weeks’ notice instead of four.

        1. TootsNYC*

          yeah, I don’t think a company would want to get into details; it’s too easy to end up getting dinged for how you said it, etc. (Not that most employers get sued for defamation, actually.)

        2. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

          That’s how it worked at my last employer (or at least, that’s what the employee handbook said). No two weeks notice = not eligible for rehire. Employment confirmation = dates, title, and whether or not eligible for rehire.

          That same employer also had a section that anyone found job hunting would be deemed to have voluntarily resigned. I don’t know how that interplayed with the above.

          Since companies can deem you ineligible for rehire for any non-discriminatory reason from gross misconduct to not liking your socks, I sure hope potential employers don’t put too much weight on it.

      5. ADHD is my Super Power*

        I just accepted a new position yesterday. This company said that they don’t even do reference checks anymore because companies aren’t really allowed to tell them much. I had offered references from peers but they said they don’t even do those anymore.

        I put my notice in today. I gave them 1 day shy of 2 weeks notice. I had no choice because I wasn’t going to put my notice in until the background check was done. (I wasn’t worried about it but there are rare stories about wrong things coming up on checks) Luckily the check was just something through a website that looks for arrests or something and it was really quick.

      6. The Shenanigans*

        Reference calls typically happen AFTER interviews, so the OP would have already said something to the hiring manager to mitigate that. I’d say they should get clear exactly what the consequences are. They can ask HR in an email or have a friend call and get the scoop or whatever. Then clear it up with the hiring manager in the interview. With good references from others, it shouldn’t be a problem. (Even if the company has a policy of no references, it is generally possible to find SOMEone at the office who is willing to say something good.)

        Also, reference checkers need to ask for clarification when given such vague answers, e.g., “So what was your notice period?” Frankly, reference checkers should make it clear that in the absence of details, they will accept the employee’s version of events over the company’s. No reference should equal a positive or at least neutral reference. But unfortunately, too many people take what companies say as the truth and take the lack of details to mean something bad about the employee.

        1. TootsNYC*

          Reference calls typically happen AFTER interviews, so the OP would have already said something to the hiring manager to mitigate that.</blockquote?

          I personally wouldn't want to say anything in the interview.
          If they let me know that they were calling my references, THEN yes–I'd say, "I want to alert you that I gave the industry-standard 2 weeks of notice, but this company makes a note in your personnel file if you don't give 4 weeks. So that may influence what they say."

          1. Anonymous*

            But would you as an employer believe that?

            Remember it would be just as easy for the person fired for sexually harassing the receptionist to say exactly that same thing.

            If the company is only going to say, dates of employment, title, and whether eligible for rehire or not giving insufficient notice is going to have the same impact as far worse offenses.

    2. Double A*

      Maybe ironically, teaching is one of those industries. Teaching jobs generally ask if you’ve ever left before a contract is up, and if there isn’t a good reason it can tank your application (depending on the hiring situation; I would imagine right now plenty of districts are overlooking it). But teachers also have contracts!

      1. LCH*

        yeah, leaving a contract early is completely different from giving less notice than the employer wanted.

      2. AceyAceyAcey*

        And in some states, leaving before your teaching contract/year is up lets the principal ask the state to revoke your license.

    3. Ace*

      At the school where I teach there really is a record kept on all students containing every office referral or disciplinary action taken. It’s not punitive. We just need to document things to help in decision making with students moving forward. So, the “permanent” record really does exist.

        1. StephChi*

          That’s not entirely true. In my district, for sure the number of absences a student has, and maybe their disciplinary record, is on their high school transcript. When they apply to colleges, or other postsecondary programs, or if they need one for a job, that information is there for admissions officers/hiring managers to see.

    4. Betty Flintstone*

      It really depends on your industry and your seniority level. I’m fairly senior in an industry where people move around a lot and your reputation is everything. Hearing that I just ghosted out of a job without the proper notice would definitely have a real, tangible impact on my career. If you are more entry-level, then yeah, it’s not going to matter. But if you are trying to climb the ladder, it certainly will.

  2. M3G*

    As the leaving employee, you kind of have the upper hand to do what you want with the notice.

    1. Melissa*

      Right? I know it’s not the same, but i was looking at the handbook for my son’s public middle school recently. It said, “Any student who is transferring out to another school must meet with the guidance counselor.” Umm…. Well, if he’s leaving the school, I’m not sure how they plan to enforce that. Tell us “No, you can’t move”?

      1. MK*

        I would think they want to know if the reason for the tranfer is a problem with the school.

        1. Melissa*

          Maybe so! Or maybe they want to be sure you won’t have trouble transferring credits. But, again, they can’t require anything, since you’re already leaving.

          1. Owlette*

            Right, they should explain WHY they want students to meet with the guidance counselor in the handbook instead of just blankly saying it’s mandatory. Same with requiring more than 2-weeks notice for a job resignation, they should explain why, assuming the reason isn’t BS. Maybe they’d have more people comply that way.

      2. Irish Teacher*

        It might just be poor phraseology, as I’d imagine the meeting is for the student’s benefit and probably not about whether or not they can move. I would guess it would be about things like transferring credits and probably just means “a meeting with the guidance counsellor will be arranged for any student who is leaving the school.”

        I’d take the “must” to mean something “in order to ensure the correct information is sent to your new school, you need to meet with the guidance counsellor or mistakes might be made” rather than “you had better meet with the guidance counsellor or we won’t let you leave,” which is obviously out of their control.

      3. Rosa*

        I was admitted to college in an unusual situation and hadn’t completed my high school diploma yet, essentially skipping 2 grades. But on paper I was dropping out since I was leaving without a diploma, and my hs was really unhappy about it when I told them! They made me see a guidance counselor who told me I “wasn’t allowed” to leave but couldn’t give me a reason why or any enforcement mechanism, just that the school forbid me from unenrolling.

      4. Lisa Simpson*

        And in some circumstances, having an adult in a position of authority grill an 11-14 year old for a choice outside of their control is wildly inappropriate. Minors that young don’t change schools on their own, their parents make the call.

      5. Ryan the CS Teacher*

        At least in my state, we can’t unenroll a student until we receive official confirmation of the student’s enrollment in another schooling situation (transferred to a new school, homeschooling, left the state, whatever), in order to ensure that students of compulsory education age don’t “slip through the cracks” and get lost. Meeting with our school’s counselor lets the counselor confirm what new school to coordinate with for those records, where to send transcripts, etc. They continue to count against our school’s attendance and graduation stats until the transfer is complete, too. I’ve had more than one situation where I’ve contacted the guidance department about a student who’s still on my enrollment list but hasn’t shown up in a month, and been told “they transferred to school X but we can’t drop them until we get the confirmation from the new school”.

  3. 4 weeks*

    I gave 4 weeks notice to Job A (they didn’t ask for it) because I was trying to leave on good terms.

    Job B didn’t work out, and Job A asked me back. So it all worked out well for me.

    (Job A still didn’t really start transition planning till like 2 weeks in to my notice, but that was their decision!)

    1. Betty Flintstone*

      This is such a good point! We see frequent letters on here about people who want to go back to old jobs, and there are also plenty of circumstances where a prior manager is now working at a new company where you want to apply. If you want to give less than the recommended notice, accept that you are burning some bridges beyond just reference checks (the job may not take you back, the manager may not take you back and/or tell her colleagues in the field you are not reliable, etc).

  4. Julie*

    When I quit the first job I had out of grad school, I was told I needed to give at least 4 weeks. Not only that, but they wanted documentation for my case load for a month after my last day. I wish I would have pushed back on this, but I wrote so many assessments to leave behind for the person taking over.

    1. DJ Hymnotic*

      The nonprofit world can be really idiosyncratic like that (I’m guessing your first job was nonprofit based on terms you used like caseload and assessment, please correct me if I’m wrong). In the corner of the nonprofit world in which I began my career, 30 days’ notice was considered the convention; I even had one employer communicate an expectation of 60 days’ notice. The caseload documentation request sounds especially bonkers though, even by nonprofit standards.

  5. MrsBuddyLee*

    I would check with your company’s reference policy before trying to do a shorter notice people. I know my (large multinational) company has a policy forbidding managers from providing any information to a reference checker beyond dates of employment and whether they’re eligible for rehire.

    If giving less than 4 weeks would make you ineligible for rehire and your company has such a strict policy about references, I would tread carefully lest a future job gets the answer that you’re ineligible for rehire and the manager can’t state that the reason is stupid.

    1. RedinSC*

      This is my thought too.

      Does the 2 weeks vs 4 make you ineligible for rehire. Also, thinking about would you want or need to work there in the future. If you’re in a big metro area with lots of jobs, maybe it doesn’t matter as much, but there are 2 big employers in my area, and being ineligible at one really closes off your employment options here.

    2. Ann O'Nemity*

      I have worked in companies with similar policies. Good managers will tell reference checkers about their org policy, share the limited about of info they can, and then offer to be a “personal” reference. At least that’s what we did ;)

  6. honeygrim*

    At my prior job (higher education), the university “required” a month’s notice. I had a friend who gave an unofficial month’s notice because they were waiting to hear about the start date for a federal job where start dates aren’t very flexible. The supervisor for their current job seemed fine with this. When my friend got the start date, it was two weeks into the unofficial notice. So they gave two weeks official notice. Even though they were told prior to this that their unofficial notice was fine, the supervisor was angry and HR made a point of putting in their file that they weren’t eligible for rehire due to not giving a month’s official notice. Which was total BS. It didn’t affect their future employment, but it did come across as really petty, especially since my friend was otherwise considered an excellent employee. And I can imagine a future hiring manager hearing “not eligible for rehire” and rethinking a candidate. Without context, it sounds really bad.

    Anyway, aside from everything Alison said, the same employers that want existing employees to give a long notice might also expect new employees to start immediately. They can’t have it both ways.

    1. Lisa Simpson*

      I worked at a university and got this too. We were moving for my husband’s career (he was wrapping up his PhD. He interviewed in January, defended in June, and we moved the following May. My boss had a very unusual sixteen months notice!

      But some department admin, who I had never met and did not know where she worked or what her job even entailed, was angry at me for “not giving enough notice” to her when we finally started wrapping my job up formally.

    2. Bugalugs*

      Unfortunately though unofficial notice doesn’t mean the company can move on with posting or replacing the employee since the position isn’t actually being vacated until official notice is given. Things could have changed. the part that irks me is that the supervisor was angry after saying they were ok with it but I also have to wonder did the employee actually say they were leaving for sure and it this was unofficial notice because they weren’t going to be able to give much or did they just kind of mentioned that it could happening and they’d keep them posted. We hear so much of communication gone sideways that you never know. Good thing it hasn’t been an issue for them though.

  7. Heather*

    I wonder if healthcare is one of the industries where it is common to require/request more notice. I recently left an outpatient clinic, and I know the providers there (so, doctors, PAs, NPs, etc) were all told that they had to give six weeks notice. Apparently it was in the handbook, and discussed at job offer, that if they gave less than six weeks, they would forfeit being paid for any unused vacation time. The justification was that extra time is needed in order to transition their patients to new providers. (In reality, of course, the patients just got a letter in the mail that said “Your doctor is leaving, call us to be re-assigned.”)

    1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

      This is it. My former (former former from a long while ago) employer was a major healthcare org and had this policy. It was primarily because of the reason you state, but it extended to administrative and back office staff, which was ridiculous to me. They were strict about it, too – I didn’t want to burn a bridge, but more importantly I wanted my vacation payout!

    2. Cat Lover*

      Same. I work in a PT office and 4-6 is the customary notice for a clinician. That allows time to find a coverage (perm or temp) provider, prep patients, etc.

    3. MCR*

      This, yes, if OP is a care provider. Nothing Alison wrote is wrong per se, but her response is solely focused on impact to the employer, not impact to populations who you serve in your job. If you work in a job that serves others, and it’s known that it takes more than two weeks to find a replacement, I think as a good person (not a good *employee*) you should at least take into account the impact that a short notice period might have on those who you serve (even though your interests may outweigh theirs in certain circumstances).

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I’d put that in the “jobs where longer notice isn’t just desired but is truly an industry norm beyond that one company, or where there’s obviously good reason for it” category in my answer!

        1. fhqwhgads*

          That’s true, but the OP did say they’re in the healthcare industry – so it seemed a little weird that wasn’t more acknowledged?

          1. fhqwhgads*

            The “that” being they are in an industry where it’s likely the norm/there’s a good reason for it.

          2. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Oh! You’re absolutely right, I should have noted that and I added a bit in the post re: them being in a field that may be one of those (although it may or may not apply to the OP’s specific job).

          3. Rose*

            This is absolutely not a normal across the healthcare industry. This is absolutely not a norm across the healthcare industry. It’s largely a norm for practicing clinicians, which is an extremely different beast. A huge number of people who work for large healthcare systems, myself included, have office jobs where 2 weeks is very much standard. Some large systems carelessly make the same demands of all employees but it’s not a good policy and it’s not reasonable.

            1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

              Agree with this caveat. I guess what I meant was, it’s not surprising based on my experience from my prior role, though I think it is lazy management overall.

    4. Yuckity Yuck*

      My SO is a physician and has an annual contract. At her last job, she had to give 4 MONTHS notice, per the contract. I don’t remember what the penalty would have been for noncompliance. It was a yucky situation because she couldn’t get a new job four months out from the earliest start date, so essentially had to quit without another job lined up.

      1. Pajama Mommas*

        Yes, I think this is more common in healthcare. When I left a job in a huge healthcare organization, I was told I had to give 4 weeks notice or I would be ineligible for any jobs with this employer (one of the largest in my city) in the future. It was stressful because my new job was NOT in healthcare and wanted me to start 2 weeks from the offer date. I ended up telling the new employer I had to push back my start date because I didn’t want to burn a bridge with the huge healthcare organization. But it was all very stressful.

        1. Nancy*

          Yep, I work in healthcare as a researcher and at least 4 weeks notice was expected for every job I have had. Since I have always been in healthcare though, it was at least always understood by new employers.

          I’m sure there are some healthcare positions that don’t expect it, but it is also not unusual for this field.

      2. Three Cats in a Trenchcoat*

        That was pretty standard in the contracts I received for physician jobs, required 3-4 months notice. I have also found that physician jobs are much more willing to hire you farther out (I signed a contract in march with a plan to start in September), though this may vary by specialty. If you are moving states (which I am), it is all dependent on how fast your license can come through anyway.

      3. Sasha*

        If you are covering a rota, it can be that long – notice in my hospital is 3 MONTHS (and that still isn’t enough time to fill gaps – luckily most people leave predictably.

        The penalty if you are a licensed provider and don’t give notice, is you are reported to the licensing board (knowingly leaving a rota uncovered is putting patients at risk). Obviously if you fall under a bus, or give 10 weeks’ notice not 12, the licensing board is not likely to sanction you – it is more to prevent things like people accepting lower-ranked jobs as insurance but continuing to interview, then no-showing at the first job.

      4. FLuff*

        Healthcare gets so complicated too. Here docs have a 6 month notice period.

        1. Getting credentialed at the hospital can take 1-3 months. The hospital group has to verify everything (licenses, medical school, residency, malpractice, background check, finger printing, verification from previous employers, official letters, etc.). Otherwise you can be liable if you have one of those con artists docs working on patients. Rare, but it can happen. There have been people pretending to be docs for years.

        2. Then there is the insurance part, CMS, etc. The doc has to get approved for each insurance company. It is not unusual where a doc starts working and can only see patients with X and Y insurance because of time lag.

        3. Licenses. This is especially true if you are moving from a different state. Some states take forever to process their applications. It is even worse in the summer when all the graduating residents leave. You cannot do #1 and #2 with it. 3 months or longer depending on the state.

        For a doc, starting a job out of state can take time. Locums companies can speed it up, and those are different beasts all together.

        Healthcare is already so short staffed. I have seen folks be lenient for great employees if it is urgent (like moving to care for sick family) and also strict when the employee really left them in the lurch. Docs generally have contracts and can really get into trouble.

    5. DannyG*

      Patient Abandonment: example If a hospital or practice doesn’t have adequate staffing that allows them to appropriately care for a patient, this could also be considered another form of patient abandonment. if you are licensed professional you can have action taken against your license if your departure causes a lack of care. My position has schedules 6 weeks at a time and we are expected to give at least that much notice.

    6. Garblesnark*

      Yes, I work for doctors at a major hospital system and they are contractually obligated to give a minimum of three months of notice.

      On the flip side, I found out in March & April about the employees I’ll be onboarding in September. So it seems to run both ways.

    7. Era*

      I was thinking about that — four weeks was standard at my last organization, which was healthcare tech! For my role, they did make use of most of that time from what I remember.

  8. MK*

    I would like to add that in countries, like mine, where notice periods are calculated by the law based on the length of your employment a) there is a corresponding obligation on the part of the employer to give notice (or severance) if they lay you off or fire you, b) everybody knows how the system works, so it’s unlikely to create problems with your new employer, c) employers are generally reasonable if you have to leave before your legal notice expires for a valid reason and d) even if they aren’t reasonable, or you don’t have a valid reason, the consequences are minor to non-existant, because most employers don’t want unwilling people working for them and/or it’s generally not worth it to enforce the legal consequences (a.k.a. ask for compensation, which would be a negligible sum, unless you belong to particular category of very priviledged employee) . The only real risk is a bad or, more likely luckluster, reference.

    1. Tiered notice*

      And on that bad reference question.

      I’m in Australia where we do have tiered notice periods.

      A flat ‘not eligible to rehire’ statement isn’t really a thing.

      I’ve never heard it, and my immediate response if a referee gave it to me would be ‘why?’

  9. Tara*

    I am in Healthcare and we do request 4 weeks – for patient care purposes. It gives us a chance for therapists to terminate with patients and be sure they are assigned to other people in a thoughtful way. There is nothing we can do if they don’t give us that – but all of us in the community talk, and it can be damaging to your reputation if you demonstrate that you don’t care about your patients enough to consider them in your transition.

    On the flip side of that, I am generally expecting new candidates to give 4 weeks notice to their job as well, so I don’t pressure people to start sooner than they can.

  10. Provolone Piranha*

    I used to be a public school teacher. 4 weeks notice was expected in my district unless you left over the summer. I once had a friend who tried to give 2 weeks notice but whose principal made her stay for the full 4. The nationwide teacher shortage makes it very hard to find a solid replacement for a teacher who leaves midyear. One of many reasons I’m glad not to be teaching anymore.

      1. Provolone Piranha*

        She was moving to a district-level position, so her principal knew her future boss and pulled strings to delay her new job’s start date. Friend and future boss were both not happy.

      2. Also a Teacher*

        In my district, there are fines (several thousand dollars) for breaking contract midyear. These are usually waived for health issues, family emergency, etc. I don’t think four weeks would cut it here.

        (Also means I have to decide each March where I’d like to work for the next 14 months.)

      3. Johnny Karate*

        In some states, districts can ask the state to suspend your teaching credential for a year if you leave earlier than your contract says/don’t provide notice. But if you’re leaving the field altogether it’s not really much of a consequence.

      4. Spero*

        I have a lot of teacher friends, and if they try to leave midyear for any reason some of the local districts will have their license revoked by the state. It used to be used only in extraordinary circumstances, but during the last few years they were angry over the volume of departures and made it a standard practice to file for everyone. If you don’t have an attorney to go to the hearing and fight it, you lose the license for cause and are ineligible to reapply for a new license for two years. So essentially, you had to be leaving for another industry or have enough money to fight the district.

    1. Double A*

      Everywhere I’ve ever taught you’re expected to fulfill your whole contract, which runs from the start of the school year to the end. You will be asked in subsequent job applications if you’ve ever left before a contract is up. Right now lots of districts are probably overlooking if people have broken contracts, but if you were trying to get a job in, say, 2010 you absolutely wouldn’t have been hired.

      However, this is because there are actual contracts. It’s not “expected,” it’s a contract you and your employer signed.

    2. Ace*

      In my state, if a teacher doesn’t finish out their contract they risk losing their license. We really are contracted employees so it’s different than what’s being discussed in the OP. It’s harder to fire us as well.

    3. StephChi*

      In my very large school district in a state with strong union protection we are required to give 10 days notice for resignations, regardless of the time of year, but there are no other requirements and no threat to your license if you leave within the school year. Of course, the principal prefers that teachers stay for at least the entire semester, and preferably not leave until the end of the school year, but it’s not always possible. They can’t make you stay longer, although they’d probably try to guilt you into it if you tried to leave before the end of the semester, since the kids would likely get stuck with a day-to-day sub in their class since it’s so difficult to hire mid-semester.

      Having said that, if a teacher wanted to get a job in my district and was asked if they left before the end of the semester/school year at their previous district and they had, they’d probably need a good reason for having done so if they’d want to be considered for a job.

  11. HelloHello*

    my first job out of school required 4 weeks and I gave it but they had me leave at 2, even though it was a “requirement” there was no reason to stay the extra time and it never had a bad effect.

  12. Tartan red*

    When unions and union contracts are involved they can most definitely hold you to those 4 weeks. Worked for Minneapolis Public School’s for two weeks, realized it was the worst job I’ve ever had, felt unsafe every day I went to work and it was completely different than was sold in the interview, so I told them I was quitting. They tried to hold me to their 60 day notice (due to signing a contract) and were threatening to take my teaching license away if I didn’t. I got another job which needed me to start right away so there was no way I could or wanted to finish out that 60 day notice period. Eventually got around it by going on FMLA with the end date being the last day of that notice period. Worst 3 months of my life.

    1. fanciestcat*

      To clarify though, that was because you signed an employment contract, not because there was a union. If you’re a unionized non-contract employee, expected notice periods are unenforceable just like in non-union jobs. Except you actually have more recourse if your union is good because this is the kind of thing unions are formed to push back on.

      1. StephChi*

        Yep, this is the case in my district. We only need to give them 10 day notice. We don’t sign individual employment contracts in my district, though. The union contract is our contract.

  13. Happy I’m Retired #500,000,000*

    I was a manager and gave 5 weeks notice if my retirement. I’m in the US, in a state where they can’t refuse to pay you severance, accrued vacation, etc based on your length of notice so 5x the notice they sometimes got. They did absolutely nothing regarding replacing me, including designating someone to attend some meetings I had represented the department at for about six months after I left. Part of the excuse was apparently I could ask to come back. I was retiring. How awful could retirement be that I would request to come back!

    1. Relentlessly Socratic*

      It is very common, though, for people retiring to give longer notice (or at least, it’s been common in the circles I’m in). I’ve known people in regular ol’ non-contract, non-academic jobs to give a year. These are people who have been well-established in an org. If someone gives less than a few month’s notice for retiring, the rumor mill starts churning over whether they’re actually retiring or being “given the dignity” of saying they are retiring.

    2. doreen*

      It’s also not unheard of for people to want to return to their previous job either full or part-time after retirement. I can’t imagine doing that , but some people apparently do not enjoy being retired.

    3. fanciestcat*

      I knew a few people who unretired. Most common reason is that they got bored at home all day. I’ve wanted to be retired since I was 23, so I could not relate at all. Travel! Volunteer! Watch movies all day! You couldn’t think of anything to do aside from work?! That’s super poor planning from your old org tho, to just assume you would be one of those people.

      1. JustaTech*

        My family is full of people who un-retired, but they usually went on to do a more “fun” job, either for social interaction or to do something they’d never had time for, or to do all the “giving back” stuff, or because something urgent came up (my uncle started a company and invented a new kind of ventilator during COVID).

        But no one went back to their previous job.

        1. allathian*

          I’m in Finland, and I know people who’ve gone back to their previous jobs as contractors after retirement, including in government where the mandatory maximum retirement age is 68 for everyone except elected politicians. If you don’t retire before that, you’re essentially fired on your 68th birthday. It’s ageist as heck, but it is what it is.

          But I know several retired coworkers who really didn’t want to go, and who had a specialized enough skillset that my employer was willing to pay contractor’s rates for their services. Admittedly none of them worked full time, and they were free to terminate the contract on their side at any time with little or no notice.

          Here, working in retirement is especially popular in healthcare, where retired nurses can pretty much pick the schedule they’re willing to work. Retired teachers can also easily find work as substitute teachers, and many love it and keep doing it for years, because they don’t have to talk to annoying parents or deal with a lot of the paperwork that’s taking the joy out of teaching. One of my best friends is a teacher, and she says she’s looking forward to subbing when she retires, and she isn’t due to retire for at least 15 years…

          When my FIL retired, he continued to work as a contractor on a couple favorite long-term projects until they were done a few years later.

          Oddly enough, everyone I know who continued to work in retirement stayed in their old job as a contractor, or at the very least, stayed in their field.

  14. Zel*

    In my current industry, 4 weeks does actually appear standard, but it’s consulting work via one of the major firms. So if you’re in a position where the contract is about to end, want to move to a new client and it would require refusing an extension from the existing one, the firm encourages a 4 week notice as to not bomb the working relationship between the firm and the client for future projects and placements.

    Having only done this style of work since the pandemic began, I can safely say in my field I would laugh in the face of anyone telling me 4 weeks were required in a full time employment setting. I’m curious as to which fields actually have it be the expectation for full time employees. Some medical/teaching come to mind immediately due to ethics and patient/children concerns but I am not in those fields so I do not know.

    1. Relentlessly Socratic*

      Some of the fed contracts I’ve worked on require 30-days notice if a named key person is leaving (and I left a previous role giving 4 weeks because I was a named person), but I am pretty sure that nothing terrible would have happened if I left with 2 weeks. The client is concerned about the continuity of the work, and if the work’s in good hands, then you’re not tanking the relationship.

    2. therapist*

      It’s quite standard in mental health to give a 30 day notice. As a licensed clinician, that’s how long it really takes to ethically transition a caseload. That is definitely one of the fields Allyson is referring to when she talks about industry standards being outside of the two week norm.

  15. KHB*

    I’m in one of those “obviously a good reason for it” environments. I work for a monthly magazine, so we have a four-week production calendar. There’s no feasible way for one person to complete an article that someone else has done half the work for. So if you start work on an article, then immediately tell us that you’re leaving two weeks later, that’s not really going to work.

    Last year, when my old boss announced midway through a cycle that he’d be leaving at the end of it, that was seen as the equivalent of storming off in a huff. (He gave, I think, almost three weeks notice.) In the decade-plus that I’ve been here, everyone else who’s left has given at least a full four weeks, usually more, and sometimes much more. When I eventually leave, I expect I’ll do the same – unless, of course, I want to be seen as having stormed off in a huff.

  16. Beth*

    I gave two MONTHS notice the last time I left a job. Being naive — I have had only a few jobs that each lasted many years — I thought they would use this time to bring on my replacement so I could at least make a stab at training her.

    They didn’t, of course; they completely wasted the notice time. By the time I left, I truly did not care how much grief they had set themselves up for.

  17. Fin*

    My company (healthcare IT, not healthcare provider) expects 4 weeks for certain positions and encourages more. It is much, much easier to continue providing good support to our customers when we have more time to find a good fit and get them up to speed. Sometimes people even give 3+ months notice (like if they’re going back to school). Our handbook says that if you give less than 4 weeks notice, the company may not pay out accrued vacation. That being said, I think folks who have given less usually are still treated well and managers tend to understand that sometimes 4 weeks isn’t possible.

  18. AnotherLibrarian*

    So, I do think in Academic Jobs there tends to be a longer notice period (usually 1 month) for most jobs. Of course, faculty are generally expected to work out the semester. However, unless you’re teaching/overseeing a lab/whatever and therefore have students who are depending on you to finish the semester/quarter, I wouldn’t be upset or concerned with a person offer two weeks. It really is okay. I mean, technically, my Uni says they expect six weeks, but I’ve never seen anyone offer that, unless they were leaving for like grad school and could give that sort of notice easily.

  19. Pugetkayak*

    Generally people give two weeks notice in my industry knowing they will be asked to leave that day (but still get paid for 2 weeks) unless you are a manager or some other role that takes a few days to prepare to leave.

    1. allathian*

      Assuming they also have health insurance for that period, it’s pretty ideal I’d say. Most people benefit from a week or two off between jobs…

  20. NotMyCircus*

    I will say that, as a hiring manager, I have never pushed back on hiring someone because they want to give more than standard notice. Internal transfers can be, and often are, held by their previous department for 6 weeks, so even with a month notice to a former employer, it’s still two weeks faster than I can start an internal candidate.

  21. ThatGirl*

    My husband is in student services-related staff at a college. It’s very typical for people to leave at the end of a semester (especially spring) and they will often give a month or two’s notice because of this. He did that himself with no problem – but one of his coworkers got walked out two weeks early for some petty reason, which just goes to show you that it’s a courtesy and not a requirement.

  22. Mordreder*

    For their sake, I really hope that the company in question has clarified the difference between giving some notice (less than 4 weeks) and giving no notice – otherwise the incentives they’ve set up may not be the incentives they meant to set up.

  23. New Yorker*

    I know someone who gave two weeks notice and was told, be gone on Friday. In at will states they can do this. And no, they only got paid for that week.

  24. Bee Eye Ill*

    I am loving that term “resignation policy” like it’s one last rule for you to follow even when you don’t want to work there any more.

    Line up some good references outside of HR and do what is best for you.

  25. Florence*

    I think this is a pretty standard requirement in healthcare. I have worked both administrative and nursing/clinical positions at 4 different organizations in 2 states, and for the administrative position they wanted two weeks notice, but every clinical position has wanted 4 weeks, not due to transitional work per se but just so patient to nurse ratios remain stable longer. I wonder if that applies to this position, but it never surprises me when I see healthcare companies ask for 4 weeks or 30 days.

  26. Random Dice*

    I enjoyed the linked “Letter of intent to search for another job” letter. Priceless.

  27. monogodo*

    I worked as an Assistant Manager at a music retailer back in the early 2000s. After they filed bankruptcy for the third time, I looked for, and found, a job in my preferred industry (printing). The employee handbook at the music retailer stated that two week’s notice was preferred, and that less than 2 weeks would mean the employee was not rehireable.

    I gave one week notice, because the new job was paying 20% more, and it made financial sense to me to do so.

    When I handed my notice to the Regional Manager, he looked at the one week notice and said, “you realize that means you’re not rehireable, don’t you?”

    I replied, “you realize you’re going bankrupt, don’t you? I’ll take my chances.”

    1. JelloStapler*

      Wow LOL- can’t see the forest for trees there eh? and when they go bankrupt would they help out their employees? Probably not.

  28. Ssssssssssssssssssssss*

    The one time I signed an employment contract (I’m in Canada), the notice period was two months. I negotiated it to be 4 weeks. And when I quit, I quit with zero notice as it was a not-great job with a terrible employer. I promptly applied for unemployment and gave the reason why I felt I was qualified despite having quit. The employer gave their side of the story but the UI people saw it my way and I got UI.

    Didn’t impact my future hiring eligibility at all BUT I’m not in academia or schools. Just a regular secretary.

  29. Van Wilder*

    I worked on the business side in a hospital that required 4 weeks. Here’s how that went down.

    Me: Here’s my 4 weeks’ notice.
    Boss: But don’t you have vacation next week?
    Me: Yes. (It was for a friend’s wedding out of the country and I wasn’t about to miss it.)
    Boss: You can’t take vacation on your notice period.
    Me: Ok, I take back my 4 weeks’ notice.
    … after vacation …
    Me: Here’s my 2 weeks’ notice.
    Boss: Only 2 weeks?? Why didn’t you give 4 weeks???
    Me: I had to go to a wedding.
    Boss: This is really unprofessional. And today is Monday and your last day is next Friday so it’s technically not a full two weeks.
    Me: …
    Boss: (Does not talk to me for the rest of my notice period.)

    So, yeah. Toxic bosses be toxic no matter what. Also I was on a PIP and they were so close to firing me so I don’t know why she didn’t just do a jig that I left on my own.

    1. Van Wilder*

      Also, I had a coworker who had given perfect notice, left on great terms, and kept in touch with toxic bosses for purposes of maintaining her references. The bosses still told her reference checkers they could only confirm employment dates, per company policy. So there was basically no benefit to leaving on good terms.

  30. Spreadsheets and Books*

    I left a job where four weeks was emphasized in the handbook and I gave two. I figured this was fine because I watched quite a few colleagues leave and they all gave two without issue.

    However, I was leaving at the same time as a few other people (don’t promote from within and watch your staff leave :shrug:) and HR got all pissy with me simply because it behooved them to have a longer time period at this particular moment. They actually told me that; usually, it’s not an issue, so they don’t enforce it. But they tried with me and yelled at me for half an hour in my exit interview.

    I stuck to my guns, gave my two weeks, and never heard anything about it again. Nothing negative during reference checks, either.

  31. Fluffy Fish*

    Where I work the rules state that if you give less than 2 weeks you *can* be marked ineligible for rehire and docked a day of leave for every day less than 2 weeks.

    The reality is as long as you are a decent employee there’s no problem and none of that is enforced.

    Unless you worked for my a-hole ex boss (we’re both still employed here, i just dont report to him). He is petty and how dare you, so the last person who gave 1 day less than 10 business days, he marked ineligible and docker her leave. He hides behind well its the rules but really he’s just a glassbowl.

  32. Ialwaysforgetmyname*

    I work for a healthcare non-profit, we have this same rule, and I think it is ridiculous. It absolutely makes sense for the medical providers (for all the reasons discussed in comment threads below) but for the rest of us, it sucks. The policy for salaried employees is 4 weeks notice, for hourly employees it is 2 weeks, and if we don’t give “proper” notice, we don’t get our PTO payout. Even if we do give the notice expected, we still only get 75% of our accrued PTO.

    The kicker? The company expects new hires to start within 2 weeks of receiving an offer.

  33. CoinPurse*

    I gave 3 months notice of my retirement. The day before my last day I was asked to “throw something together” about skills my replacement would need. I am a licensed professional. 6 months after I retired they still had not hired anyone, finding their salary expectations out of line with reality.

    I wish I had given 2 weeks. They really doubled down on me until the last day. The last literal hour I was there I got 2 new assignments!

  34. Cyndi*

    I’m curious–what are people’s rules of thumb for when it’s reasonable to give little or no notice? I mean, sometimes it’s obvious, like when a workplace is physically unsafe or your paychecks are bouncing, but what other conditions would make you feel justified in jumping ship immediately?

    (Okay, fine, I’m asking because I gave the safe two weeks at my about-to-be-ex-job, but I seriously considered only giving a few days because the commute is so brutal, and couldn’t decide what level of jerk that would make me.)

    1. WellRed*

      Assuming you knew what the commute was when you took the job, you did the right thing. But it really also depends on the job and what kind of hole that would leave.

      1. Cyndi*

        I very much did not know! I’ve been here for two years and the office moved locations last week, more than doubling my commute time. I had several months’ warning about the move! But I didn’t manage to get an offer for a new job until the night before moving day, so I’m stuck spending 4 hours a day on the train for my notice period.

        1. Sorrischian*

          This is a case where my commute-hating heart says that’s totally worth leaving immediately, but pragmatically I have to admit that two weeks of extra travel time, even though it is unpleasant, is probably not sufficient to justify leaving with no notice.

      2. I have RBF*

        When the office moves to farther away, you don’t know “what the commute was when you took the job”. The commute when you started may have been 20 minutes, but with an office move it can now be two hours each way.

    1. jes*

      From my experience with signing employee handbooks, they ask you to acknowledge that you have received and read and understand the handbook, not that you agree to anything in it.

      1. squeakrad*

        understood, but I think they could then justify giving you a poor reference. And the few times I have had to sign employee handbooks, it was understood that we would agree to abide by the contacts.

        1. Fluffy Fish*

          They can give you a poor reference regardless. Signing the handbook doesn’t materially change that.

    2. Kevin Sours*

      It is nonsense for companies to disclaim any contract of employment but expect you to treat the employee handbook as if it were the contract it explicitly says it is not.

      1. Squeakrad*

        Agreed but it happens. What I meant above was that the company will try to justify it, not that it’s justified.

  35. Insert pun here*

    Higher ed (non faculty) here and everywhere I’ve worked has required 4 weeks from senior staff (what that exactly means varies but basically amounts to anyone not in an entry level or one-past-entry-level job.) That can be waived and often is, at least in my experience, but the potential penalties are (a) no vacation payout and (b) not eligible for rehire. I’ve never left a job thinking “I might want to be rehired some day” (I’m leaving for a reason!) but I sure don’t want to be marked as “not eligible for rehire” in whatever database they consult when someone calls for a reference check.

  36. TootsNYC*

    that personnel records will reflect if someone leaves before the “required” notice period.

    This to me is the biggest reason to give a traditional notice (i.e., do not quite with no notice). The organization may well mark you “uneligible for rehire,” and that IS one of the things that will get asked and answered in our new world of less-detailed references.

    I don’t know if they will answer “not eligible for rehire” if you give two weeks’ notice, or three. That might be a thing to ask someone, if you can do it discreetly.

  37. Good Enough For Government Work*

    European here, and I still cannot get over the idea of having any job without a contract. I’m pretty sure I even had a contract when I was a 14-year-old papergirl!

    I just started a secondment, and even though my permanent contract won’t change until/unless I go permanent in the new role, there was absolutely no question of starting without my signing a contract.

    1. allathian*

      Yeah, me three, but it’s a different culture like Empress Ki says.

      I’ve only worked one call center job without a contract, and then I just showed up on the days that I’d agreed to work. But when I quit, I did it with no notice on the day that I’d signed my employment contract for a full time office job. They didn’t provide any references either, but I did get an employment certificate to show my period of employment and that I left voluntarily.

      Written proofs of employment aren’t really a thing in the US, but they are here, so there’s no need for a potential employer to call a former one just to get proof of employment.

  38. Cat's Paw for Cats*

    Folk, always leave your employer on good terms if at all possible. You need a good reference and may even find you will want to work for them again someday. If they ask for four weeks notice and you can negotiate that with your new employer (and many times you can), do so. I retired from a profession where four weeks notice was standard. I always explained to my new employers that I felt obligated to work the full notice if at all possible to smooth the passage for my former employers and not only did the new employers agree, they were impressed that I was concerned enough to care about not leaving my former employers in a lurch. Win/win all the way around.

    1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      Was it also standard for the employee to receive at least 4 weeks pay if laid off or fired?
      If not, it’s inequitable

      1. Cat's Paw for Cats*

        What an odd comment. Equitable or not, it is almost always in the employee’s best interest not to burn professional bridges.

        1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

          I didn’t say don’t give notice.
          Employees, being by far the more vulnerable party, may always have to suck it up, but it’s not odd to say it stinks

        2. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

          I’m in Europe so I am used to both sides having to give the same notice.
          I’d feel very resentful if I had to give 4 weeks notice but could be terminated without 4 weeks pay.

  39. Anon Obvs*

    My last job had an incentive of one week’s pay for every year of service to the organization if you gave 30 days notice. Some people give shorter notice and take their vacation paid out and call it a day, but most people stick around voluntarily for a month to get the severance bonus.

    (No surprise, we had a union that negotiated that benefit! But I think it’s a good practice that benefits both sides to offer something in return for asking for a longer notice period.)

    1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      Win-win for both sides.
      Sensible employer and clever union

  40. Katie N.*

    At my (very large national) company, if you don’t give 4 weeks you lose any unused PTO and you are ineligible for rehire EVER. This scares a lot of people into doing it. I think it’s so short-sighted. If a good person wants to return, why would you burn that bridge over something so minor and outside professional norms?

  41. HigherEd*

    So interesting to see the different norms on this! I work in higher ed in Europe and we have a 3 month notice period, even as non-academic staff, even if you’re just moving to a different role in the university!

  42. Forkeater*

    I am nearing the end of a long notice period. I gave more than four weeks. My boss was grateful for the extra time and posted the position immediately… but hasn’t even bothered to do phone screens yet! And just this week, when I’m almost finished, people are coming out of the woodwork to request extra work from me before I leave. They could have done weeks ago and no one would have had to rush. I will never give more than two weeks again.

    1. Zee*

      I gave a really long notice at a previous job because it was a tiny non-profit, I really liked it there, and I was leaving to go back to school so I knew way ahead of time.

      It was awful. I will never give lengthy notice again and I don’t recommend it to anyone else.

  43. Johannes Bols*

    I look at it this way (I tend to see things in black and white): your employer can terminate you with no notice. If you already have another job offer, why give your employer any notice? And the covert threat of your notice being mentioned in your employee record because it’s at variance w/their inane policy would drive me to do just that. There is so much understaffing presently due to exactly the sense of employees saying “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Your employer has its head in its alimentary canal. Don’t even think of being ‘nice.’

  44. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

    The absence of contracts is supposed to give US workers the freedom to leave jobs whenever they want, in contrast to Europe where both sides are bound for usually 1-3 months.

    Whichever system one has, imo it is only fair if both sides have equal freedom or equal obligations wrt notice.

  45. LCSW*

    I work in healthcare and am salaried and I am held to this too… and I have a clinical license and have a patient load. For those of us with clinical licenses there is risk if we don’t give more notice (pt/clt abandonment).

  46. SB*

    Things are slightly different here in that notice periods are mandated for both employers & employees. An employer can terminate someone “effective immediately” & escort them off premises, however they have to pay them a minimum number of weeks depending on how long the employee has been with the company in addition to any leave entitlements they had owing.

    Employees are also required to give notice based on the length of time they have been with that company & if they fail to give the required notice the employer can deduct the time they should have given as notice from any wages or leave entitlements owing to them when they leave.

    The concept of not giving notice to an employee when you terminate them is so wild to me.

  47. Michelle Smith*

    If it’s a problem, don’t just give two weeks notice and hope for the best. Talk to your boss, their boss, HR, whoever you need to and try to negotiate with them in good faith.

    I left a job once that wanted me to give 6 weeks notice. My new employer was flabbergasted and upset that I would take that long, so I went back to my then current employer to explain the situation. It has been many years now, so my recollection is fuzzy, but we either negotiated down to 3 or 4 weeks. I worked over the weekend once of those weeks to make sure all of my files were in perfect order and prepared with transfer memos so the next person could pick up the folder and know exactly what to do next.

    Talk to your employer and see what they’re willing to work out to avoid any negative marks on your employment history, assuming there is even a snowball’s chance in Hades you might go back. I’d worry a bit less about the future reference if you already have a new job.

  48. Rita*

    I work in the UK and had to give three months’ notice when I recently left my job (it was in my contract!). I was leaving mostly because the workplace was so disorganised and I can tell you right now that they still haven’t even started recruiting for my replacement… and I left a month ago

  49. HCowner*

    Owning a healthcare business, my biggest problem with less than four weeks notice is that I’ve booked patients on your schedule and everybody else’s schedule for about four weeks out. I know that I cannot require any notice, but I think for our patience it’s appropriate to get four weeks so that they don’t have to have their visit canceled if I don’t have anyone in the pipeline. I realize that not everybody views this the same, and I’m not part of a large healthcare system, we are a small independently owned company, but I care about my patients, and not having to cancel their appointments and I would hope my practitioners do as well.

  50. Zee*

    So many places I’ve worked have “expected” 4 weeks’ notice, but those same places all wanted me to start *immediately* after hiring me – i.e., not even willing to wait for me to serve 2 weeks’ notice at my then-current employer.

    My most recent job was one of those, and 10 months later they still haven’t replaced me, so I really don’t think those extra 10 days would have made any difference…

  51. Testerbert*

    If your job *requires* a four week notice period, you make it a two-way affair. Both parties have to give four weeks notice, with the employer having the option to just pay the employee a month’s compensation in lieu of notice.

    Doesn’t solve the madness of other employers wanting a new joiner in *immediately* upon offer, but it’d be a start.

  52. Barry*

    “themselves. (To be fair, if your employer always pays severance when they end someone’s employment — and when that severance always covers at least the same number of weeks of notice that they want from you — this argument holds less water.”

    Only if it’s unconditional. I was laid off, and they wanted me to sign an agreement. I took that to a lawyer, who was shocked at the terms.

    Conditional severance is not severance.

  53. Dogmomma*

    if you are in nursing, salaried or not, 4 weeks is the expected notice, at least in NYS. Not sure about the other areas of health care. . There’s no issue with another employer with start dates after that. I’ve taken a week off too before starting another job. I agree with LCSW, in health care it may be considered abandonment ( getting fired is different) plus to reschedule an entire parent load..if we’re talking about an office, is really unfair to patients, esp if it’s in a critical area such as oncology where people shouldn’t wait or be interrupted in getting care

  54. 15 Pieces of Flair*

    In toxic workplaces be forewarned that you could also be pushed out as soon as you announce your resignation. A decade ago I was working in an awful “we’re a family”, “this is a calling” type environment that required a full month’s notice or they wouldn’t pay out vacation time. I gave notice, and they pushed me out the same week without paying the remaining weeks of the notice period. If your employer is known to actual unethically, assume that they’ll do the worst thing they legally can.

  55. YouMayBeToldToGoImmediately*

    Also be prepared to be immediately walked out the door no matter how much notice you give. Because some companies do that. I even had one place where an older gentleman tried to insist he couldn’t let me use the restroom without his accompanying me and I gave him what for (they had a single open restroom, not stalls).

  56. Happy Now*

    I worked for a major healthcare system that spelled out four weeks notice in their handbook. I was in marketing and had only worked there for six months — but had started looking for a new position almost immediately as my boss was very toxic. (Everyone else in the organization was great).

    I was offered a position in my old industry. gave my two weeks notice on a Monday. I first spoke to my VP (my boss’s boss) as we had a good relationship — and he knew that “direct boss” had a people problem. He was fine with the two weeks notice.

    I then spoke to my boss; provided my letter of resignation thanking her for the opportunity and giving my 2 weeks notice. I was told that Friday (4 days away) would be my last day.

    They play by their own rules. I was thankful I didn’t give 4 weeks notice — that would have left me with no job for three weeks!

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