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True or False: Two weeks' notice is mandatory

Two Weeks Notice

Photo Credit: Flickr/Billie Ward

True or False: Two weeks' notice is mandatory

By Carolyn Hauck on April 07, 2015

Need to quit your job? Hopefully giving your two weeks’ notice is a non-issue because you work in a supportive work environment and you want to let your boss and coworkers know ahead of time that you’re moving on. But in some cases it is an issue and you might be wondering if you have to stick around for two weeks after you know you are leaving.

In most cases it’s best to look at two weeks’ notice as less of an obligation and more as a courtesy. Hopefully you’ve been working in a productive and positive work environment, at least for the most part, where there’s mutual respect amongst the employees and they’d be happy for you and your new opportunity. You’d want to give them all a heads up, right? Because two weeks’ notice isn’t just about giving your notice to your supervisor, it’s about the people you’ve worked alongside who might have to pick up the slack if your replacement hasn’t been found in time. Knowing that you’ve at least given your supervisor and co-workers a few weeks’ time to adjust to your absence will make your departure go more smoothly.

But what if this doesn’t sound like your current situation? What if there are harassment issues, the work environment is too toxic, personal circumstances need you to leave immediately, or you’re being asked to do something you know isn’t right. What is your obligation then?

You have no obligation, because as Loren, an Employment Lawyer on JustAnswer puts it: “Absent a contractual obligation to the contrary, there is no law requiring two weeks’ notice to leave a job.”

There you have it. You’re not obligated to give two weeks’ notice. But bad circumstances and contractual agreements aside, it is still culturally our way of courteously moving on to a new job or opportunity. It’s also your guarantee that you won’t be burning a bridge, because references are important and you never know where life will lead you. It could be back to the job you’re leaving.

Final verdict? False. You don’t have to give two weeks’ notice when you quit your job.