What happens if you quit a job without notice? So, the first thing to identify is, did you sign an employment contract or not? If you haven’t signed an employment contract that specifies how much notice you must provide to the employer, then ultimately, it’s up to you how much notice you give.
Giving Weeks’ Notice Prior to Quitting the Job
Now, if you’re in a non-employed position, meaning you have not signed an employment contract, then, for the most part, two weeks’ notice is a standard amount. Why two weeks? Because normally, most places schedule out two weeks in advance. So, to avoid a huge disruption to the schedule, they would like two weeks’ notice. Now, let’s start with, you haven’t signed an employment contract, and there isn’t anything that specifies how much notice you have to give. And then we’ll end with what happens if you have signed a contract.
Consequences for Not Giving Notice
So, if you’re in maybe just an hourly position and you’re unhappy with the job for whatever reason, there are only a few consequences that can happen for not giving notice. One, even if you don’t provide proper notice, they cannot withhold your paycheck. They can’t do that. Even if you give one day’s notice, you still need to be paid for as much as you work. Second, you need to think that if you are going to list this place as a resource, a referral, a recommendation, or whatever you want to call it if you put it on a resume in the future, and then that place calls and just says, what were your dates of employment? And then perhaps they get someone on the phone who’s a little chatty, and then they may say, well, this person did not provide any notice.
You may want to be careful. And that obviously will look poorly upon you. You need to think, alright, if I’m not going to give enough notice, one, am I going to put this on my resume moving forward? And then two, maybe what kind of relationship do you have with whoever? Managers, supervisors, whatever you want to call it. And then three, were there any extenuating circumstances? Because obviously, an employer is going to be okay if there is an illness, a death in the family, or something like that, that can be explained. But if you just quit without any notice because you’re unhappy, that’s a different situation. So, that’s the first part. The only thing that could happen is they could give you a bad recommendation moving forward, and honestly, that’s about it.
Employment Contract Specifies Proper Timeline For Giving Notice
Now, if you’ve signed an employment contract, it will specify exactly how much notice you have to provide. And for most professionals, it’s somewhere between 30 to 90 days’ notice. In healthcare, it’s longer just so that it’s easier for continuity of care when you pass off a patient to someone else. In sales, it’s usually less than around 30. If you want to just leave your job without any notice and you’ve signed an employment contract, you’re in breach of contract. And they could come after you for damages. Damages for the lost sales or revenue with you leaving without any notice, the recruitment costs of finding a replacement or a short-term replacement. These are all things that you could be liable for if you just break an employment contract without any notice at all.
Think Things Through Before You Quit Without Notice
When you’re determining whether to leave or not without any notice, you need to think. This could absolutely put me at risk or in potential liability for damages to that employer. So, you have to follow what is in the contract, and it will say, alright, if you are going to give notice, this is where you send it, this is how you send it. And then, in the termination letter, it does not need to be a diatribe about all the reasons why you’re leaving. It just needs to say, per the agreement, I’m giving you 60 days’ notice, and my last state of employment will be x. I appreciate the opportunity. That’s it. That’s all you need to put in the termination letter. So, that’s a little breakdown for both people that have employment contracts and those that don’t if you leave a job without notice.
Can I Quit my Job if I Signed a Contract?
When we say contract, in my mind, that means an employment contract, an employment agreement, and a contract that lists the terms of the employment relationship. So, can you quit if you sign a contract? Well, it depends upon what is in the contract. Every contract will have the length of the agreement, like how long it lasts and then how to terminate the agreement. There’ll be a section that’s called term and then termination. The termination section will dictate how to terminate the agreement and quit your job. There are four ways for a contract to be terminated.
4 Ways You Can Leave Your Job Depending on the Contracts You Sign
If it’s just a fixed-length, meaning, it’s a one-year or two-year contract. It doesn’t automatically renew, then the contract terminates at the end of it if neither party wants to restore it, and that’s the end of it. The second way would be through mutual agreement. If you and the employer decide, we want to move on, and if it meets the agreement, then you can leave. The third way is by breach of contract. What it’s called for-cause or with-cause termination.
If one party, I’ll do this from the employee’s perspective. If the employee believes the employer is in breach of contract, let’s say they are not paying the employee on time or the amount agreed upon, or maybe they’re not paying out bonuses. The employee would then have to give written notice to the employer and say, hey, you’re in breach of contract. And then usually there’d be what’s called a cure period.
15 to 30 days. The employee could not terminate the contract for-cause if they were to cure the breach. Usually, if after the cure period, whatever the breach was isn’t fixed, then it’s the option of the employee to terminate the contract immediately. And then last, and this is kind of what I would consider quitting your job, there will be, or at least there should be, without-cause termination. Without-cause termination means either party can terminate the employment agreement at any time, for any reason, with a certain amount of notice to the other party. The cure period states whatever party that’s in breach of contract has a period to fix whatever the breach is. Usually, it’s between
You can quit your job, but you may have to serve a certain amount of time. In most employment contracts, the notice period will be somewhere between 30 to 90 days. In that scenario, if you wanted to quit your job and terminate the agreement. You would have to send a written notice to the employer that just said. I’m exercising my right to terminate the agreement without-cause. And then, whatever the time was, say it’s 60 days, you’d say, my last day of work will be X date. And then you would have to work those 60 days. Then, at the end of 60 days, you’re free to leave.
Read Your Employment Contract Terms Before You Quit
Remember if you decide to quit your job or terminate the agreement. Many contracts would have some repayment obligation if they paid a signing bonus or relocation assistance or they’ve paid for licenses or certifications. It’s essential to determine, alright, if I terminate this contract or quit my job, will I have to pay anything back? If you’re a healthcare professional, malpractice insurance obligations will likely be.
So, if you must pay for tail insurance, you need to identify that and figure out what that cost will be. And then lastly, and usually most importantly, are there any restrictive covenants in the contract? Even if you quit your job, the restrictive covenants will still apply. The restrictive covenants would be a non-solicitation agreement and a non-compete—the two most common restrictive covenants. The non-solicitation agreement will state you can’t actively solicit patients, clients, customers, employees, independent contractors, and vendors for a certain period of one year.
And then the non-compete is even more critical. It will state that the professional can’t work within their specialty for a period, usually one to two years, within a specific geographic radius. For healthcare professionals, it could be 10 miles from your primary practice location. If you’re in sales, it could be that you can’t work in these counties or even can’t work within this entire state. Now, that’s broad. I don’t think that would likely be enforceable in most states, but that’s what the non-compete is. So, just because you quit the job, you no longer want to be employed there doesn’t mean these restrictive covenants won’t apply.
Give Your Employer Notice To Avoid Blows in Your Career
You need to look at the language of the contract and determine: what are all the things that are going to follow me after I quit my job? Because if you terminate the agreement, it doesn’t mean that everything ends either. So yes, you can leave your job, most likely if you have an employment agreement, but you are required to follow the terms of the agreement. What if you say I have an employment agreement? I’m sick of working here. I’m just not coming back.
If you don’t give notice, you don’t show up. Then you’re done. Well, you’re a breach of contract and opening yourself up for potential legal action, either through a lawsuit or if there’s an arbitration clause or maybe some mediation. There could be damages associated with you for not giving the proper notice. In addition, it could be the company’s lost profits when you just left. It could be recruitment fees and finding your replacement. So, I suggest you follow the terms of the agreement.
And then, when I talk to many unhappy employees, I always say, look, if they are in breach of contract, you must provide them with written notice. You can’t just sit there and take it and then use that as justification for not coming back. You must follow the terms of the agreement.