Do I Have to Give Two Weeks' Notice in New York City?

Do I Have to Give Two Weeks’ Notice in New York City?

Written by Marc D. Ostrow

Do I Have to Give Two Weeks’ Notice in New York City?

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You have decided to leave your job for a new one or personal reasons.  The next step is to resign from your current position.  What is the best way to do that?  Do you have to give two weeks’ notice in New York City?  While generally there is no notice requirement there are some recommended practices to keep in mind.

Is Advance Notice That You Are Resigning Required in New York?

New York City does not have a specific provision regarding giving notice before quitting.  Accordingly, state law applies.  Generally, New York is an “at-will employment” state, meaning that a private-sector employer can terminate an employee for any reason at any given time, absent an employment agreement to the contrary, and provided that they do not violate anti-discrimination or other laws.  At-will employment also gives employees the right to quit for any reason at any time.  As a result, in most cases, you have no legal obligation to give any advance notice that you are resigning.

This is true even if your company’s employee handbook provides that employees must give notice before quitting.  Most employee handbooks state that they are not employment contracts; therefore, a notice provision is not legally binding.  However, if you have signed an employment contract that requires notice, then you must comply with that provision or you will be in breach of your contract.

Are There Any Notice Requirements Under New York Labor Laws?

You have decided to leave your job for a new one or personal reasons.  The next step is to resign from your current position.  What is the best way to do that?  Do you have to give two weeks’ notice in New York City?  While generally there is no notice requirement there are some recommended practices to keep in mind.

Why Should You Give Notice of Resignation?

While employees do not have to give notice, it is recommended to do so as an act of common courtesy.  It gives employers time to start looking for your successor and prepare for the transition.  This will leave you on better terms with your employer and co-workers who may have to take on your work on an interim basis.  You may also need individuals you worked with in the past to give you a reference in the future or you may end up working with one of these people at another company.  It is important to act professionally and not burn any bridges unnecessarily.  As a rule of thumb, the more senior the position, the more advance notice an employee should give, even if not legally required. Generally, clerical, administrative and other support staff should give two weeks’ notice. Executives and professionals, such as lawyers and accountants, should give four weeks’ notice, sometimes more, to ensure there’s a smooth handoff of clients and accounts.

How Should You Give Notice of Resignation?

There are no legal requirements governing how to give notice.  However, there are several best practices that employees should follow in most instances.

  • Notify your supervisor first. Generally, you want to speak to your direct supervisor first so he or she does not hear about it from someone else.  This may make your supervisor look bad to others in the company or feel insulted, which could hurt your chances of getting a good reference in the future.
  • Be brief. You do not need to say why you are leaving or where you will be going; only that you are leaving and what will be your last day.  It is best to share any additional information orally and individually, rather than in your written notice, which may be circulated.
  • Act professionally. Regardless of your feelings about your job or colleagues, it is generally best to be courteous and leave on good terms.  If appropriate, thank your colleagues.

When Is It Appropriate Not to Give Advanced Notice?

In some instances, it may be appropriate to give less than two weeks’ notice.  For example, if you have a personal or family crisis (health or other issue), you may have little choice but to quit without notice.  In addition, you may want to resign immediately if your employer may be violating the law, such as by directing you to do something illegal or subjecting you to discrimination or harassment.  If you have had ongoing discussions with your employer about job terms and they do not comply with your agreement with them, it may be reasonable to depart sooner.

What Are Your Rights When You Resign?

If you resign, your employer is not required to allow you to work until your stated final day.  However, you may be entitled to unemployment compensation if you get fired, albeit for a limited time.  Normally, you cannot collect unemployment benefits if you resign as opposed to being terminated.

You are still eligible to retain your existing health insurance offered by your employer.  However, it is at your own expense under COBRA.

Conclusion

In New York you are not typically required to give two weeks’ notice- but remember that you do not want to damage your reputation or potentially limit your future job prospects by acting unprofessionally.  If you have been subject to unlawful conduct by your employer or you have an employment contract, or even if you just want professional guidance on how best to resign your current position, you should consult an experienced attorney.

Photo by Laura Davidson on Unsplash

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This Blog is made available by Romano Law PLLC for general informational and educational purposes only, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this Blog you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and Romano Law PLLC or any individual contributor. You should consult a licensed professional attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

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