What is a notice period & how it affects finding a new job
Get a better understanding of the notice period in the job application process. Find out how it works, its impact on your job search, and what you need to consider before resigning.
Section 1: What is a Notice Period?
Defining the Notice Period
A notice period is a specified period of time that an employee is required to work after giving notice of their intention to resign from their current job. The notice period is typically outlined in an employment contract or job application form and is meant to provide the employer with an opportunity to find a replacement for the departing employee and to transition the employee's responsibilities to another member of the team.
When you quit your job, you are not relived immediately from duty but you have the notice period as a remaining obligation.
The notice period is also known as your resignation period. (It is one and the same)
Only after you finish working for the duration of this notice period, then do you be deemed fully discharged from all duties of work and employment at your current job.
The components of the notice period include:
- Notice period length: The amount of time that the employee is required to work after giving notice of their resignation. This can range from a few days to several weeks or months, depending on the specific terms of the employment contract or job application form.
- Notice period start date: The date on which the notice period begins, which is typically the date on which the employee gives notice of their intention to resign.
- Notice period end date: The date on which the notice period ends, which is typically the last day of work for the employee.
The notice period can vary depending on the circumstances of the job and the industry in which it is located. For example, a notice period might be shorter for an employee in a highly specialized field or a position that requires a high level of expertise, as the employer may want to minimize any disruption to the company's operations.
Section 2: How Does the Notice Period Affect Your Job Search?
The Implications of the Notice Period for Finding a New Job
The notice period can have a significant impact on your job search, especially if you are looking to leave your current job and start a new one as soon as possible. In some cases, the notice period may overlap with the hiring process for a new job, which can create challenges in terms of timing and scheduling.
For example, let's say you are applying for a new job and you are asked to start work in two weeks. However, your current employment contract requires you to give four weeks' notice before you can leave your current job. This means that you would need to negotiate a shorter notice period and an earlier release from your employment with your boss or find a way to bridge the gap between the end of your current job and the start of your new one.
It is important to be aware of the notice period requirements in your current job and to consider how they might affect your ability to pursue new opportunities. It may be helpful to negotiate a shorter notice period with your employer or to negotiate a start date that accommodates the notice period in your current job.
Section 3: How Do You Negotiate the Notice Period?
Tips for Negotiating the Notice Period in Your Employment Contract
If you are looking to negotiate the notice period in your employment contract to reduce its length, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success:
- Do your research: Familiarize yourself with the notice period requirements in your industry and the specific terms of your employment contract. This will give you a better understanding of what is reasonable to ask for and will help you make a stronger case for any changes you are seeking.
- Be proactive: If you know you will be leaving your current job in the near future, it is a good idea to start discussing the notice period with your employer as soon as possible. This will give you more time to negotiate and will help ensure that you are able to find a mutually beneficial solution.
- Make your case: When negotiating the notice period, be sure to clearly and concisely explain your reasons for requesting a change. This could include your desire to pursue a new opportunity or to simplify the transition to your next job.
- Be willing to compromise: While it is important to advocate for your needs and interests, it is also important to be realistic and to be willing to compromise if necessary. Consider the perspective of your employer and try to find a solution that works for both parties.
Section 4: How Do You Handle the Notice Period When You Are Ready to Leave Your Current Job?
Best Practices for Managing the Notice Period
Once you have decided to leave your current job, it is important to handle the notice period in a professional and respectful manner. Here are a few tips to help you navigate this process:
- Communicate clearly: Make sure to inform your employer of your intention to leave as soon as possible and to follow the guidelines outlined in your employment contract or job application form. Be clear and concise in your communication and be prepared to discuss your reasons for leaving and any arrangements you have made for the transition of your duties.
- Be gracious: Even if you are leaving your current job for negative reasons, it is important to remain professional and to show gratitude for the opportunities and experiences you have had with the company. This will help to maintain positive relationships and will make it easier for you to ask for references or networking opportunities in the future.
- Be cooperative: During the notice period, it is important to be cooperative and to continue performing your duties to the best of your ability. This may involve helping to train your replacement or assisting with the transition of your responsibilities to another member of the team. By being proactive and willing to help, you can demonstrate your professionalism and make the process as smooth as possible for everyone involved.
- Respect confidentiality: If you are leaving your current job to join a new company, it is important to respect confidentiality and to avoid discussing your new job or the details of your departure with your coworkers or clients. This will help to maintain the integrity of both companies and will prevent any potential conflicts of interest.
Section 5: What If You Are Asked to Work Your Notice Period After You Have Already Left Your Job?
What to Do If You Are Asked to Work Your Notice Period After Resigning
In some cases, an employee may be asked to continue working their notice period after they have already left their job. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as to complete a project or to ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities.
If you are asked to work your notice period after you have already left your job, it is important to carefully review your employment contract or job application form to determine your rights and obligations. You may also want to consult with an HR representative or an attorney to understand your options and to determine the best course of action.
In some cases, you may be able to negotiate a compensation package or other arrangement to compensate you for the additional time you are asked to work. Alternatively, you may be able to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement with your employer to reduce the notice period or to waive it altogether.
It is important to approach these negotiations in a professional and respectful manner, and to be open to finding a solution that works for both parties. By being proactive and willing to compromise, you can help to minimize any potential conflicts and ensure a smooth and successful transition.
Section 6: How Do You Manage the Notice Period When You Are Starting a New Job?
Tips for Managing the Notice Period When Starting a New Job
If you are starting a new job and you are required to work a notice period at your current job, it is important to manage this transition in a way that is respectful and professional. Here are a few tips to help you navigate this process:
- Communicate with your new employer: Make sure to inform your new employer of your notice period requirements and to discuss any potential conflicts or challenges that may arise. Be open and honest about your availability and be prepared to work with your new employer to find a solution that meets everyone's needs.
- Be respectful of your current employer: While you are looking forward to starting your new job, it is important to continue performing your duties to the best of your ability at your current job. This includes respecting confidentiality and avoiding any activities that might reflect poorly on your current employer.
- Plan ahead: If possible, try to plan your transition from your current job to your new job in a way that minimizes any potential conflicts or disruptions. This may involve negotiating a shorter notice period with your current employer or finding ways to overlap the two jobs to ensure a smooth transition. It may also be helpful to delegate or transition your responsibilities to other members of the team to minimize any potential disruption.
- Be flexible: Be prepared to be flexible and to adapt to changing circumstances as you manage the notice period. This may involve making adjustments to your schedule or finding creative solutions to any challenges that arise. By staying open and willing to work with your current and new employers, you can help to ensure a smooth and successful transition.
The notice period is an important aspect of the employment process that can have a significant impact on your job search and your ability to transition between jobs. By understanding the meaning and implications of the notice period, you can better navigate this process and find a solution that works for you and your career goals.
Whether you are negotiating the notice period in your employment contract, managing the notice period when you are ready to leave your current job, or starting a new job while still working your notice period, it is important to approach these challenges in a professional and respectful manner and to be open to finding solutions that meet everyone's needs.
- How notice periods are defined for employees and how they work in real life (with flowchart diagram)
- What happens when you quit and start serving notice? (with infographics)
FAQ #1: If I cannot find my notice period, where are the best places to look?
If you do not know the notice period of your current job, there are two options.
- You can either ask your current company (through HR), or
- Refer to your own employment contract which you have signed before you started work.
Employers and their HR department will very, very likely put the notice period and the details into your contract.
Printing this out, putting it down in black & white and having you (the employee) sign it, is the best way to document the agreed arrangement and prevent misunderstandings in the months and years after you began working.
It further prevents a he-says-she-says situation if a verbal offer of employment was given and agreed, and years later, no one can clearly and surely remember the terms of the oral agreement.
FAQ #2: What are some examples of job application form responses for the section "Date Available" or "Notice Period"?
Next, we explain what is meant by your availability to start work.
In a job application form or by the means of a phone call, you will be asked about your availability to start work. This simply means that the employer wants to know when you are available to begin working if you are offered the job.
FAQ #3: Why do I need to write my availability when applying a new job?
Usually, applicants state their notice period on the availability section.
The reason is that their only hurdle preventing them from starting work in a new company immediately is their current employment contract needing them to serve out a notice period. After the notice is served, then will they be able to begin new employment.
FAQ #4: How long availability should I write on a job application?
Depending on your personal circumstance and your desires (whether or not to take a break between jobs), you can state your availability however you like it. It is really up to you how occupied and engaged you want to be, though some applicants after having been through multiple rounds of second, third interviews, would rather state a short availability in order to secure a job faster.
Job applicants wanting tips on filling out the "Date Available" or "Notice Period" section of a job application, can refer to the below examples.
Suggested duration of availability for job application form
Job seekers should write the following quoted words (in these "inverted commas") to indicate their notice periods. Fill up these words on the space provided in the job application form.
- "Immediately", "ASAP", "N/A" or tomorrow's date: For applicants who want to start at the earliest possible time. You should not have any commitments holding you back from starting work. Applicants in this category are usually unemployed and do not have a current employer, fresh student-graduates applying for their first entry level position or ladies who have recently given birth and are returning to the workforce.
- "2 weeks": For applicants who have 2 weeks notice and want to have an uninterrupted period of continuous employment. Usually such applicants want to maintain a continuous stream of income by not having a break off between working for different companies.
- "3 weeks" or "2 weeks (notice) + 1 week (personal)": For applicants who has other time commitments (such as taking a vacation holiday during or coinciding with the notice, having a breather, etc.) between the 2 week notice and the next job, stating 3 weeks will indicate an intentional delay of employment start date of 1 week for personal purposes. During the interactive interview stage, it is advisable to be honest that you intend to take some personal time off. As an applicant, you should elaborate in detail that your specific notice period is 2 weeks, you intend to take 1 week of personal time and state a specific date (e.g. March 1st) of when you intend to start working again.
FAQ #5: Why should I give details of my notice and availability on my job application?
Providing a breakdown of your notice period / availability in your job application (where practically possible) is useful for interviewers.
A detailed breakdown of your notice period on your job application form helps the hiring managers meaningfully understand your availability to start working in the new role.
This availability information gives cues and sets expectation proper and well early in the interview process, keeps the meaning clear and omits preventable miscommunication.
FAQ #6: How do I Indicate (What do I Write) My Notice Period in My Job Application?
In job applications that request for your current notice period, you should write the earliest date which you can start work at the new job. The date you indicate as your notice period is also the same desired start date with you are okay to begin at the new job.
Present it in the DD/MM/YY format to be clear in communicating your desired start date.
If the job application asks you for the number of days or weeks, you can indicate the actual number should you choose to serve out the whole notice period or you can indicate a shorter one if you are giving less notice.
Here are examples of what you can write on the application form:
- Example 1: 17/08/21
- Example 2: 2 Weeks
- Example 3: Available Immediately
In example 1, the specific date is the earliest where you can start work.
In example 2, you have stated you have 2-week notice period and can start only after. If the job is offered later on, the interviewer will have to take the date of offer and add 14 days to know the exact date you can join them.
In example 3, your immediate availability means that you are unemployed currently and that you can start work with no notice required.
You can indicate the notice period in your resume. Inform potential employers early into the application process. Providing them the notice period right on first instance allows the potential employer to determine if your timeline suits them. This also avoids wasting time scheduling and attending interviews that won't work out in anyone's favour.
FAQ #7: How Much Notice Should You Include in Your Job Application?
When it comes to job applications, more notice is better than less. It is always difficult to know how much notice to give when applying for a new job. The key is to be as professional and courteous as possible. Try to give at least two weeks notice when applying for a new position. This shows that you are respectful of your current employer and gives them time to find a replacement.
The standard amount of notice that you should give is two weeks. This gives your employer time to find a replacement for you, and it also shows that you are respectful of their time and business.
FAQ #8: Why do Employers Ask for a Notice Period on Job Applications?
The purpose of asking for your notice period in the first place is to determine whether you are currently employed.
A potential employer will also want to know how long it will take for you to start working with them.
Optional: Substituting serving time with money
Employees have to "give notice" of 2 weeks (for example) before they leave their job or compensate 2 weeks of salary in lieu if they leave the job immediately. Notice periods work both ways, so if your boss wants you to leave, he needs to give you the same notice period or pay you instead.
FAQ #9: How Much Notice Should I Give When Applying For A New Job?
It is usually best to give as much notice as possible, especially if you have a good, positive relationship with your current employer. There is a particular season (end of the year) where most people quit their jobs.
Two weeks (14 calendar days or 10 working days) is the minimum amount of notice that most employers would expect, but giving more notice than this is often appreciated.
If you have been with the company for a long time or if you are in a management position, it may be appropriate to give more notice than two weeks. However, if you are just starting out at the company or if they are downsizing, two weeks may be all that is required.
In any case, it is always best to err on the side of caution and professionalism when applying for a new job - include as much notice as possible in your application.
FAQ #10: Why Does My Next Employer Want My Notice Period?
To know when you can start work
The first reason why your potential employer wants to find out your notice period is to anticipate your start date at their company. Knowing when they can expect you to join their company if you are offered the position helps in arranging for orientation and handing over workload/assignments.
To sync up schedules between you and their team
The second reason why your potential employer wants to know your notice period is to avoid having to replace you halfway through a project or at the middle of a critical project. Scheduling another replacement in the middle of an ongoing project is disruptive. The employer's projects can get garbled up and teams become mismanaged when situation is unclear. Consequences can lead up to missing important deadlines.
To gauge when you have to make your decision to accept or reject the employment offer
A third reason is that the notice period further gives your potential employer a rough timeline of when they can expect your definite decision on any potential offers. The notice period you give should coincide (match with) their job opening deadline.
To weed out candidates who need a long notice; quick-fill jobs can't wait for these people
The fourth and final reason is that if the position needs to be filled urgently, the company will not be able to accept applicants with a long notice period. This is regardless of experience and compatability.
A quick-fill role has to have a worker in it as soon as possible, and companies can't wait long.
Companies will not be able to wait for these applicants to serve out their notice before they formally join, so such applicants are filtered out of the shortlist.
FAQ #11: Tips for minimising the impact of your notice period on job applications
Job applicants can make the candidacy more attractive to prospective employers by:
- Being upfront about your notice period from the start (especially if you need to serve a long notice). There's no point trying to hide it - if an employer asks about it, they're likely to find out anyway. Be honest from the outset and try to negotiate an acceptable compromise if possible.
- Suggest alternatives if the interviewer already seems uncomfortable with you serving out your full notice. If you know you'll have difficulty serving out your full notice period, recommend working remotely or reduced hours during your notice period.
- Get a garden leave - this is where an employer agrees to pay you during your notice period but doesn't require you to work, giving you time to focus on finding new employment without worrying about financial concerns.
- Consider taking 'unpaid leave'. This option isn't suitable for everyone, but if finances allow it could be worth considering taking unpaid leave during part or all of your notice period.
FAQ #12: Does My Current Notice Period Affect Chances at an Offer?
A longer notice period reduces your chances of an offer. The next company has to wait longer before you can join. So even if you can do the job, the company may not be able to wait for you to join them. The position can be of an urgent need to be filled. For positions which have been left empty for a long time, HR will be more rushed and anxious to fill the position quickly.
A month's notice compared to a week's notice has a definite impact on the number of job offers you will be getting.
If you are giving them a long notice period and you can only start much later, they are unlikely to give you serious consideration. You may be eliminated for the cause of a longer notice length.
FAQ #13: How long is the typical notice period?
The typical notice period worldwide, including developed countries like United States, India, The Philippines, Canada, Malaysia and Australia is two weeks, although some jobs may have a shorter or longer notice period.
FAQ #14: Why do some jobs have a shorter or longer notice period?
The reason for this variation in the length of the notice period is typically due to the type of job you have, the kind of role you are being paid for and also the industry you are in.
Specifically, jobs that require more training or are considered "critical positions". These require weeks of dedicated coaching and instruction for the employee to build up experience and confidence to do the job. It takes time to skill up a worker to perform a job in specialised fields.
These critical positions would have a longer notice period as a consequence, since the employer needs more time to find and train a replacement. This does not mean that the experienced employee is irreplaceable. Rather, it takes time for the quitting worker to be replaced by someone else.
On the other hand, jobs that are less essential or are easier to train someone for may have a shorter notice period requirements.
The higher your level of responsibility and tougher the job requirements, the more important you are to the company and the more difficult you are to replace. So having a longer notice period for key positions is not surprising.
Therefore, you should choose your next job and watch out for the terms in the job. You do not want to be restricted and bound by conditions you one day regret, but at the same time the job should be compelling and lucrative (it should pay well) for you to continue working at their offices.
FAQ #15: What is my notice period if I am unemployed?
An unemployed person has no job. He does not need to give any advance notice to his employer as he does not have an employer. Thus, an unemployed person has no notice period.
FAQ #16: Should I Leave the Question about Notice Period on Job Applications Blank (or Skip It)?
Leaving the fill-in-the-blank on your notice period with your present employer empty or unanswered is likely to draw the interviewer's attention (not good!), and leave them wondering why you have left it blank.
Asking for your notice period is purely for practical reasons - to know the earliest date you can start and whether to give you new projects, etc.
Answering the question on your current notice period is voluntary. If you are not comfortable declaring it, your best option is to answer 'available'. This purposely creates ambiguity - which an interviewer will later clarify with you. You don't need to write down your notice period on job applications if you really don't want to.
You are not forced to answer it as a compulsory question, but those applicants who do answer it have a more complete application. Your competition could get ahead of you in terms of ranking, and could add to the difficulty in securing a sought after job.
FAQ #17: What Happens if You Don't Include a Notice Period in Your Application?
If you don't include a notice period in your job application, the potential employer may assume that you are willing to start work immediately.
This could be advantageous if the company is looking to fill the position quickly.
However, this may not be the case, and if you're offered the job without having specified a notice period, you may find yourself in an awkward situation when you are required to start the very next workday. It's always best to be up front about your availability from the outset.
FAQ #18: Are there downsides to excluding the length of notice in a job application?
Further, omitting a notice period could also backfire and make the employer think that you are not committed to giving proper notice at your current job. It's always best to err on the side of caution and include a reasonable notice period in your application.
Some companies will not consider your application if you do not include a notice period, while others may be more lenient. It is always best to check with and ask every company you are applying for so that you know what their policy is.
The best opportunities to pose such a question and approach this topic in the interview process is via a phone call or during a face to face meeting.
FAQ #19: Can I Change My Notice Period (or Reduce It)?
Your notice period can be changed if both the employee and employer legally agrees.
- The change should be agreed in writing - physically or digitally
- A shorter notice means that the employee will receive less pay for working less. Employers similarly pay less.
- If there is a disagreement or dispute in the change of notice period, neither party can unilaterally agree to the new arrangement (cannot be one party agree, and the other party says no - this is a no-go)
- You can raise a new proposal or suggestion to reduce your notice period anytime with your employer and you do not need to wait until the exit interview meeting to do so.
If you have decided that you want to start at a new job earlier than your current notice period allows, or that you need to start earlier in order to further your career prospects, you should reduce your notice period and serve a shorter notice at your present employer.
Do be informed that if you serve a shorter notice or give no notice, you will need to buy out the difference in the notice period and you also lose out on the salary during this period. The term for the buy out is called the salary-in-lieu of notice.
The financial cost to shorten your notice is likely not worthwhile, and most employees would rather not reduce their own notice to start somewhere else just a few days earlier.
FAQ #20: What Happens if I Leave My Job Before the End of My Notice Period?
If you serve less time at your current employer than you were supposed to, you fall into one of three scenarios:
- Job Abandonment - When your contract specifies that you are paid for work during the notice period, but you leave, then you are considered to have abandoned your job. Your previous employer had agreed to pay you and held to their end of the agreement but you failed to hold up your part of the agreement by not working. As such, you would be in breach of your employment contract. Your previous employer can sue to recover the money they have lost because of you leaving before the end of your notice period. In many cases, this can be a costly financial loss for the employee, especially if they are leaving for a better job offer. If employers choose to follow through with legal action and recover their money, then you may on the hook to pay for their legal fees as well.
- Calling In Sick - If you report sick to avoid serving notice with a legitimate doctor's note, you are still considered an existing employee. Thus, your work obligations do not change and you are still required to serve your notice period until the last day. (But if you call in sick for the entire notice, your employer cannot impose any work responsibility on you since you have been certified unwell by a doctor.) You are not allowed to work for another employer in the meantime during your sick day since you can't be sick when dealing with your ex-employer and perfectly healthy when interacting with the new boss.
- Resigning From Job Without Any Notice - If you choose to tender your resignation letter to your employer and leave immediately, it is a voluntary leaving and not abandonment. On the spot, you no longer have any contractual obligations to the employer. However, you will need to buy out your notice period. Do also be aware that resigning without serving your notice can be a time bomb for future employee references. You may be leaving because you are unhappy with something at the workplace or that you are not satisfied with your job and the employer may wonder if you would do the same thing to them in your future position.
FAQ #21: How Do I Calculate My Notice Period?
The notice period is stated in your employment contract and you should refer to it directly for the most clarity.
To calculate your notice period otherwise is relatively straightforward. Most employment contracts and company policies clearly state the notice period (no need for calculation) or the minimum notice time required of employees.
The minimum notice period may be calculated as follows:
- 1 month's salary for every year of work completed at that workplace; or
- 8 weeks' salary for every completed year of work; or
- 40 hours a week multiplied by number of weeks in a month, depending on which calculation gives you the larger amount.
This can change depending on the country you work in.
FAQ #22: Will I Get Paid During My Notice Period?
Yes, you are paid when you work during your notice period.
Notice period counts as service - you continue to do your job (unless your employer instructs you and refuses you to work), deliver output and results as per your employee contract. Since you still do the required work asked of you, you get paid during the notice period. There should not be any pay reduction or change in hours of work unless you have agreed to it.
FAQ #23: Can An Employer Cut My Pay?
The employer is not allowed to reduce pay, refuse or withold to pay salary because of issues regarding notice period, unless there is sufficient cause through a workplace investigation.
If there is suspicion of wrongdoing or illegal activity, employees may be suspended during an ongoing workplace inquiry or fired during the notice period. These implicated employees could be out of work.
FAQ #24: Does Working During Notice Reduce Employee Benefits?
During the notice period, benefits stay the same unless there are specific clauses in your employment contract that says otherwise. The most common change in employee benefits is that resigning employees are unable to clear leave. This means that any unused annual leave and unclaimed off-days are either forfeited (you lose it) or encashed (converted to $ and added to your final paycheck).
FAQ #25: What is the Typical Employee Notice Period?
An acceptable notice period varies among employers and industries. Usually, the longer you have been working for a company and the more senior a position that you hold in that company, the longer your notice period will be.
The notice period in some countries is as low as one month or even shorter. However, in most countries, it is three months or more.
A 3-month notice period is legal in countries such as United States, Indonesia and Singapore, when the period is mutually agreed upon.
FAQ #26: Can My Employer Increase My Notice Period?
Your present employer cannot force you to stay extend your stay at the company.
They also cannot unilaterally extend your notice period (make you stay without asking permission from you).
However, if you are a strong performer or are proven as a necessity to operations, and the employer would like to retain you as an employee, they may be willing to go beyond the original notice period to ask (not demand) for you to stay.
Only when you agree to their request, can your employer increase your notice period. Otherwise, your notice period remains unchanged.
FAQ #27: How Can I Reduce My Notice Period Without Paying Anything?
There are three ways to reduce your notice period without any financial cost.
The first way is to resign and start at the new job the very next day, using salary from the new job to pay off notice from the first job. During these interim days, the pay you get is paid to your ex-employer. Your net income is close to zero.
The second way is to take a leave (e.g. childcare leave, annual leave, sick leave and other leaves). You may need to see a doctor at your own expense if insurance does not cover you. For annual leave and other similar leave, do check your contract or with HR if you are prohibited from taking leave as a resigning employee.
The third way is to negotiate with your employer to waive the notice period. If both the employee and employer agrees to dismiss the notice requirement, the notice period may be reduced or eliminated entirely.
Employees can serve less of their notice period or if agreed, serve none, and thus have no further contractual obligations. Likewise, employers do not have to pay for further costs in relation to this specific employee.
Tips for Negotiating your Ideal Notice Period:
If you're looking to negotiate your notice period, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Do your research: Know the company's policy on notice periods and what is typical for employees in your position. This will give you a good starting point for negotiation.
- Be prepared to compromise: You may not be able to get exactly what you want, so be prepared to compromising and settling for something that is close to your ideal situation.
- Be reasonable: Don't ask for an unreasonable notice period that would put strain on the company or force them to make significant changes in order to accommodate you.
- Think about timing: Timing is important when it comes negotiating your notice period - try not do it during busy times or when the company is going through tough financial times as they are likely less flexible during these periods
FAQ #28: Do part time jobs have a notice period?
All jobs have a notice period including part time, temporary and seasonal positions because it is a legal requirement under employment law in most developed countries.
Employees need to understand that it is a legal requirement to give notice regardless how short of a period you have worked. Even if you treat your job as "for fun", to try a new role out of curiosity or if you are merely finding pocket money, the notice period still exists and apply to you.
However, it is important to note that many part time jobs have a very short notice period. The number of days of notice could be easily from 7 days to even just 24 hours. In the case of a 1 day notice, the employee can show up at the start of the workday or shift, talk to his boss about quitting, and terminate his job at the end of the very same day. Because part time jobs have such a short notice period, there is very little consequence. An employee can pay 1 day's wages instead of working for one more day and he would have met the requirement of properly and legally quitting his part time job.
FAQ #29: Buying Out Your Own Notice Period
Paying for your own notice period is called "buying out your notice period" or paying salary in-lieu. It is the industry norm to pay for all or part of your notice period and it is advisable to attempt negotiation first.
The cost of buying out varies widely among companies, countries, industries and employees. The whole issue may be a sensitive one for certain employers. Be very careful when dealing with companies with strict policies and make sure that you get all the relevant details before you get into a legally binding contract.
When you buy out your notice period, you lose out on your salary which would have been paid to you. Instead, you pay your employer for the notice period you did not serve.
FAQ #30: What is "furlough" and what is the difference between "furlough" and serving out my notice period?
A furlough is a period of time in which employees are not allowed to work because the employer has too many staff members. This is usually due to economic conditions, like when too many employees are hired, and most of the company's business has dropped off. In an effort to control costs, companies lay off employees during furloughs. However, any employees who are laid off are still allowed to be paid their usual salary for a specified amount of time if the layoff is due to economic conditions.
Furlough is different from a notice who is currently serving notice because there is no furlough in this case. Furloughs terms are set out in a fresh contract between the employer and the employee while notice terms are already established through the dated employment contract.
FAQ #31: Can I Look For Jobs During My Notice Period?
You can look for new jobs during notice period but you have to abide by the current terms of your contract.
FAQ #32: Can My Employer Re-Hire Me During My Notice?
Most countries treat a notice period as an interruption in your employment contracts starting from when you served your notice period until when you actually start working again.
What this means is that it is unnecessary to re-sign the contract or extend the validity of the original contract. You start working again as if you never left (as if your leave did not interrupt your service).
If, after you have served notice, and before you have started work at the new job, your employer offers another position within their company (another job altogether), they should ask for a new signed contract.
FAQ #33: Can I Be Employed By Another Company During My Notice Period?
You can be employed by a new company or be employed by multiple companies at once, even while serving notice period. However, it's not nice as employers expect your 100 percent effort and dedication at one job.
If you are found to be working for a new company, you could be charged with a breach of contract if you fail to discharge your duties. Make sure you can still do your job well if you work other part time, weekend, or work from home jobs.
FAQ #34: Can I Terminate My Employment During My Notice Period?
As a resigning employee, you can still leave your job during the notice period. You need to pay the remaining salary-in-lieu of notice to terminate your employment mid-way through your notice.
So if there is still a week of notice left, pay 1 week worth of wages and you will be free. Thereafter, you may proceed to work for another employer as you have no more work obligations.
Do consider how much savings before rushing into a decision to buy out your notice.
The same rule also applies to employers who want to terminate their employees.
FAQ #35: What are the good reasons to give notice
You may need more time to plan and prepare before you can start a new job. You may need more time to research the market for a new job and finish making needed arrangements for your family before you leave your current job.
If you work in the government sector, giving notice can be mandatory. If you are working in the civil services of many countries, giving notice is required so that there is time to train your replacement. In private and public corporations, giving notice is required by law in many.
If you receive a counteroffer from your current employer, you should give them time to consider it before you completely resign. In some cases, an employer may make a counteroffer salary or negotiate on terms because they want to keep an employee who is good at his job.
It is best to discuss the terms of the counteroffer with your potential new employer first so that they do not think that you are trying to steal employees or trying to avoid negotiating a settlement with your current employer.
FAQ #36: How Can I Tell My Employer That I Want to Give Notice?
Wait for the employer to ask you to resign (e.g. give a notice of resignation) and then serve enough notice to pay off your notice period.
If you do not receive an offer or no job after serving notice, but you decide to resign anyway, negotiate with the employer to pay for all or part of your notice period and then continue working until the end of your notice period.
If you do not receive an offer or want to resign but still need to serve notice, you can ask the head office or HR if they will hire you for a part of your notice period (e.g. 3 months full-time, 2 months part-time). If they agree to it, serve your notice and "buy out" the rest of your notice period instead of ignoring your notice or paying the penalty.
Samples to Use: To Give Notice
If you will be giving a 2-week notice period for resignation, the following sample clauses can be used to put in your letter of resignation or in your employment contract:
I hereby resign from my current job effective immediately and give notice for two weeks. I understand that this is a legally binding agreement. If the company decides to waive the notice period, it will be fully compensated for any losses incurred by my sudden resignation. If the company decides to pressure me to leave earlier, I should be given an additional two weeks of salary as compensation for my notice period loss.
FAQ #37: Are There Jobs Without Notice Period?
All jobs are required to have a specific notice period agreed by the employee and employer. This can be anywhere from 1 day to 6 months, but typical notice periods are 2 weeks, one month and 3 months. If your job does not state a notice period, most jobs stick to a 2-week duration or are based on an oral agreement if you do not give any notice to leave your job.
FAQ #38: When Is the Notice Period Effective From?
Notice periods start when you submit your resignation letter.
The start date of the notice can be on a weekend or public holiday. This first day of the 2-week period counts into 14 calendar days, which includes non-working days. Employers usually start counting from the day of resignation if you give notice without a specific date, but it can also be counted from the last day you work at a company. In most cases, your notice period is triggered on your last day of work and your employer counts it from that date.
FAQ #39: Can I retract my resignation and getting back to work as if nothing happened?
It is generally not advisable to try to withdraw a resignation after it has been submitted and accepted by your employer. Once you have resigned, you are no longer an employee of the company, and it is up to your employer whether to allow you to return to work.
If you have already resigned and wish to return to your job, it is important to communicate this to your employer as soon as possible and to explain the reasons for your change of heart. It is also important to be aware that your employer is not obligated to allow you to return to work, and they may choose to fill your position with another candidate. If you are able to return to your job, it is likely that your employer will have some conditions or expectations for your return, such as a probationary period or a reduction in pay or responsibilities.
FAQ #40: How to reduce awkwardness During the Notice Period
Feeling awkward is perfectly common and normal as your colleagues and boss have already expected you to leave and you may not feel socially comfortable working the same way. To reduce awkwardness in the office environment, you can concentrate on preparing the designated person replacing you and make sure that the transition takes place smoothly. This allows you to make your colleagues feel comfortable with your leaving.
FAQ #41: How is the Notice Period Important to Employees?
Knowing your notice period is a necessity as part of career planning. If you intend to work elsewhere, being aware of your notice period allows you to prepare for the transition into the new job, even before you exit your current company. The same planning applies if you decide to quit and start venturing out on your own to start your own company. When you know how long your notice period is, you can prepare your exit from your current job and inform your next employer when you can start work.
In the context of the employee's current job which he is leaving
In the employee's current job, he will know the number of days remaining before he discharges all his work duties. During the notice days, a leaving employee can be tasked to do a handover, clear remaining leave and sit for an exit interview.
These activities usually take more than a day.
And the more time an employee has left in the current job, the smoother these tasks will be. It allows the employee to have a smooth transition for his nearly "ex-colleagues", and preserve positive relationships with his peers / superiors. (You personal branding stays with you after you quit.) Every industry is tight-knit, so it is customary to exit any job with amicable terms as there may be a time where career paths cross again.
In the context of the employee's next job which he is about to begin
In the employee's next job, he can plan for the day he commutes to his new workplace, starts onboarding procedures and be ready for fresh responsibilities in his new job scope. In interviewing for the next job, there are typically delays, extended response times and waiting periods before a hiring decision is finalised after a job application is first submitted. Knowing your notice period gives the employee time to make mental preparations before he enters a new work environment and reduce the period where he is unemployed (since no job means no income).
With good forward planning, you have an accurate estimate of how long it may take for you to leave your current job, and there will not be a long period where you are jobless with no income or salary.
FAQ #42: How do I state my notice period on a job application?
An employee should copy the notice period from his existing contract and state this same period on the job application. Use the same unit of measurement - number of days, weeks or months - to express the duration of notice period.
If there is no written contract or if the duration of notice period be unclear from a verbal contract, then the employee can approach his or her HR (Human Resource) department to ask / confirm the notice period. It is best to have this confirmation reply from the company in writing to prevent unnecessary future communication and reduce misunderstanding.
Notice is a practical aspect to the employment contract, so it is best to explain it with a detailed example.
Here is a scenario to elaborate on how employees can give notice before they quit and join a new company:
This is an example on how notice period works and how you can state your notice period on your job application form.
- You are working for Company A today, 01/08/21.
- You apply for a new job at Company B, and went for the interview two days later on 03/08/21.
- In the job application form, you are asked about your notice period. Printed on the application is "NOTICE PERIOD: ________".
- Here, you have to propose a start date to begin your first day of work at Company B because you still hold a job at Company B.
- Since you know that your notice period with Company A is 2 weeks, you understand that the earliest you can start work at Company B is 17/08/21.
- You write "2 WEEKS" on the job application form.
- Then, you go for the interview as planned.
- Fortunately, Company B found you as a good fit and offered you a position a week later on 10/08/21.
- As per your suggestion, both you and Company B can agree for you to start employment 2 weeks from the job offer - i.e. 24/08/21
- You then can proceed to resign from Company A that same day on 10/08/21. Submit your resignation letter to your superior to inform them that you've quit.
- You give 14 days' notice, from 10/08/21 to 23/08/21, inclusive of both dates.
- The official last day of work at Company A is 23/08/21.
- Before you leave on the 23rd, you need to return all company property, attend the exit interview and undergo the necessary out-processing procedures.
- Hooray! Follow up with your new employer, and begin your new job on 24/08/21 at Company B.
FAQ #43: How is the Notice Period Important to Companies?
Informing your superiors ahead of time allows them ample time to find a suitable replacement, organize any transitions for you and your colleagues, and avoid the minor discomforts of sudden unemployment. A longer period allows a more thorough handover, increases familiarity of process, reduces mistakes.
Some companies go as far as to pay the departing employee "annual-leave-in-lieu". This means the employee encashes his remaining leave entitlements. He gets paid a salary for those days of leave remaining and can no longer use those benefits. Companies do this for key personnel or experienced staff who are exiting because bosses need them physically around in the workplace. The employee will need to close out and resolve outstanding work and teach the team how to properly, correctly and accurately do the work before he starrts a new job and is gone for good.
Further, having a clearly stated notice period allows companies to pay their leaving employees accurately without any dispute or discontentment.
More examples to help you understand. Based on the previous scenario, here is how employees will be paid:
- As the worker has given his full 2-week notice as per the requirement in his employment agreement, he remains entitled to pay during his last 2 weeks.
- If there are any benefits (such as allowances) and overtime, these have to be paid out as per usual.
- Unless there are specific clauses that are agreed upon, all salary and payments cannot be modified.
- We assume his pay is $2000 USD, with no overtime and benefits.
- Since the employee resigns on 10/08/21, and works until the last day on 23/08/21, he is paid $1000 USD.
This leads us to the next point.
FAQ #44: Is My Notice Period the Same As My Colleagues or Other Co-workers?
Every employment offer is different. Under different economic circumstances and job markets, similar positions may vary the compensation package as well as the notice period within the offer itself. As a result, your colleagues' notice period is unlikely to be the same as yours. There is no need to benchmark salaries amongst people in the same department (even if they have the same role and seniority).
Sometimes bosses pay someone more because he negotiated better and there was more wiggle room to pay a higher salary. Other times budget was tight and the department couldn't pay as much. Or there could have been a downturn, recession, corporate restructuring, etc. These external and internal factors all affect the terms of employment, including the agreed notice period.
FAQ #45: Who do I give my resignation letter to if I want to quit?
Look, the first step is to figure out who your direct boss is. If you're not sure, ask HR or look up your company's org chart online.
Once you know who your direct boss is, schedule a meeting with them and let them know that you're resigning from the company.
Then hand them your letter of notice and explain your intent. It is also common courtesy to inform HR of your resignation so they are likewise aware and kept in the information loop.
Both HR and your immediate boss will do exit processing for you by communicating and passing through interdepartmental checkpoints. When your exit clearance is done (including completing your notice, returning all company property and after completing your exit interview), you will be deemed to have left the company.