California Two Week Notice Law – Explained
When many of us think about quitting a job, we think about when to give our two weeks’ notice. Let's dive further into the California two-week notice law.
But is it a requirement for a quitting employee to give two weeks’ notice in California?
It depends on the terms of your job and the goals you have for future employment. Let our experienced California employment lawyers explain.
Is a Two Week Notice Mandatory?
Is a two week notice mandatory? It is best to follow the notice requirements in your employment agreements and policies. If you have an employment contract or employee handbook regarding your employer’s policies, check it to see if there are specific provisions about giving notice.
You should follow whatever notice period your employer requires.
Failure to follow notice requirements in an employment contract or policy could subject you to having to pay damages for breach of contract and could jeopardize a new job.
If you have a pressing issue that prevents you from giving the notice your employer requires, you should speak to an experienced employment attorney immediately.
An employment attorney can minimize the damage of your non-compliance with the notice provisions of an employment contract.
At-Will Jobs Don’t Normally Require a Two-Week Notice
California is an at-will employment state. Unless you have an employment agreement that sets certain terms for the length of your employment, you or your employer can end your job at any time.
California law states that at-will employees need to give notice when they quit, but there isn’t a particular California at-will employment notice period.
If your at-will employer doesn’t have a notice policy, you can choose the notice period that works for you. But you still want to be careful about giving your employer adequate notice.
Giving adequate notice can protect your work record and employment options.
Is a Two Week Notice Required? Maybe but, Giving Two Weeks’ Is Often Ideal
Although the law doesn’t require you to give your at-will employer two weeks’ notice before you leave, giving this amount of notice is pretty standard practice.
Giving this amount of notice can help your employer plan for your absence and resolve outstanding work matters. So, is a two week notice required? No, but giving two weeks is often the best practice.
Giving this amount of notice can also save you a lot of grief because it can help you leave on good terms with your employer.
Leaving on good terms can have many vital benefits, such as:
- Giving you time to gather important employment materials that you can legally take;
- Making you eligible for rehire in the future;
- Giving you time to get your employee benefits in order; and
- Helping ensure that your employer is a good job reference.
If you don’t give your employer enough notice, you could damage your professional reputation. That could make it harder to find jobs in the future.
Be Careful About How You Communicate Your Intention to Leave
You want to be sure that you’re ready to leave before you give notice. Unfortunately, some employers might terminate you immediately if they have a hint that you’re thinking of quitting.
You also want to be very clear that you are quitting so that your work record doesn’t incorrectly classify your resignation as a “no-call no-show” incident after you have left.
It’s often best to do this with a simple, written letter of resignation. On your last day, you might be asked to participate in an exit interview.
Be careful about what you sign, be cordial in what you say, and bring a witness if you can. A heated exit or hasty signing of exit paperwork could jeopardize your rights as an employee.
An Employment Attorney Can Help You Make a Clean Break from Your Job
It can be hard to determine when it’s best to move on from a job, but you want to do it with as little scandal as possible.
At Starpoint Employment Lawyers, we give you one-on-one attention and quality legal advice to help you make the best employment decisions for your needs.