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Can you require that employees provide two weeks’ notice?

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2023 | Employment Litigation |

As a business owner, you would certainly like to get two weeks’ notice from an employee who is going to leave the company. This can give you time to find someone to replace them, and it makes the transition go a bit more smoothly. In fact, many business owners consider this to be standard practice and expect two weeks’ notice from any employee who decides to quit.

But can you actually require it? Some business owners will put in the company handbook that it is “required” and that employees have no choice. But is this true?

Do they have an employment contract?

The only time in which this would be true is if the employee has an employment agreement or an employment contract, which they signed, stating that they will provide notice if they want to quit. In the same way that a contract can say that the person will remain employed for a certain amount of time – such as 12 months – it can set up other requirements if they want to leave the job. That employee is then required to follow the contract if that situation arises.

But for those who don’t have employment contracts, they are at-will employees. They do not have to give two weeks’ notice. They can quit whenever they want, and they often don’t have to give any notice at all. This is not illegal. Putting this type of regulation in a company handwork doesn’t make any difference, as it does not change at-will employment laws.

As such, there can sometimes be a bit of confusion or disagreements between employers and employees. When things get complex, those involved must understand exactly what legal steps to take.


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