Employers prefer employees provide a notice when they decide to leave a job. However, not all employees do that, and no state or federal law requires an official written notice before leaving a company.
Some states are “at-will” states, meaning employers can terminate someone’s employment without reason. Alternatively, employees in those states can terminate employment without giving a reason.
While no universal laws for resignation guidelines exist, there are some requirements that should be met. A company can’t terminate employment based on gender, age, race, or other personal factors.
The “at-will” doctrine makes it easier for employees or employers to end employment whenever they want. However, legally protected factors can’t be the only reason for the separation of employment.
Can employers let someone go after the employee gives notice?
Technically, an employer can decide whether an employee should work their entire 2-week notice or if they want them to leave immediately. Companies can legally ask someone to leave immediately, which could make the employee eligible for unemployment in virtually every state.
Companies who want to avoid conflicts with employees regarding separation should include clear guidelines regarding resignations in the company’s written policy.
Employees who have signed a binding contract may be required to complete the last week or 2 weeks after tendering a notice. If an employee only gives 1 week’s notice, it’s the same scenario. The employer can determine whether the employee should complete their final week or should leave immediately.
The next steps after an employee tenders their resignation
When a company is notified of an employee’s impending resignation, the 1st step many employers take is to make an official announcement that someone is resigning. This step encourages open communication with employees and helps to prevent rumors or conflict.
There are several ways companies can make the announcement. Some employers choose to hold an employee meeting; some send an email, and some have HR or management meet with each team member individually.
Companies should assign other employees to take over assignments until a replacement is found for the person who is resigning. If an employee gives notice and intends to work the entire notice, they can ideally train their replacement. That means the company needs to start searching for a replacement immediately.
Companies can use the knowledge and training of a valued employee by asking them to assist with training a new hire. Exit interviews are crucial for providing valuable information to employers about why an employee has chosen to leave. These exit interviews help employers learn what they can do to improve the work environment for other employees.
Considerations to keep in mind for a resignation policy
When businesses make their expectations clear regarding employees leaving, the transition for everyone involved will be easier. Businesses aren’t required to have specific employee resignation policies; however, it’s wise for companies to create guidelines and include them in a company manual.
Here are some things that could be added to the resignation policy.
- Encourage employees to submit their resignation in writing and to give at least 2 weeks’ notice of their intent to resign. This recommendation ensures that employers receive adequate time to plan for someone leaving. The 2-week notice allows time to train a new hire or transfer or reassign tasks to other employees.
- Companies should ensure that employees have signed a list of company-owned equipment they received when they were hired. Employees should understand that they are responsible for returning the equipment before the end of their final day at work.
- Businesses should check state labor laws or consult a labor attorney to determine if they are required to pay remaining benefits or allotted vacation time. Ensuring this information is included in the company manual makes the policy clear to everyone on staff.
- Some businesses include a clause that refuses to allow employees to rescind their resignation. For example, if an employee turns in a resignation but changes their mind before their notice period ends, the company can refuse to allow them to continue working beyond the 2-week notice period.
- Having a clear set of guidelines lets an HR department know exactly what to do when someone resigns. The guidelines for the HR department should have information regarding the right paperwork to complete, how to conduct exit interviews, or anything else related to employees leaving by resignation or firing.
What happens if an employee gives little or no notice?
When an employee leaves without notice, it can cause management and other team members to be stressed. What should companies do if someone decides to quit unexpectedly?
Here are a few ideas for dealing with employees leaving with little or no notice:
- The 1st thing a company should do when an employee leaves without notice is consider making a counteroffer that complies with company policy. Doing this can lead to employee retention because sometimes employees leave to find more money or a more challenging position.
- Companies should make an announcement of the resignation as soon as possible, so other employees don’t start to worry about the safety of their position with the company.
- Businesses should attempt to find out why the employee has chosen to leave. Some employees leave simply because they received a better job offer, or they leave because they have decided to relocate. However, some employees leave due to issues within a company. HR should reach out to them to see if they are willing to give a reason for leaving so the company has an opportunity to correct any potential issues.
- HR departments must complete paperwork and follow exit procedures anytime someone quits. The employee’s duties must also be reassigned until someone else is hired to fill the position.
The business, especially management and HR, should take steps to avoid having employees leave without notice in the future. Learning how to avoid these kinds of exits can help a company improve its turnover rates.
When an employee leaves without notice, a company should take the opportunity to examine things such as pay scale, policies, and culture to determine if changes should be made.
When an employee leaves without notice, a company should take the opportunity to examine things such as pay scale, policies, and culture to determine if changes should be made. Losing an employee suddenly to resignation should be a catalyst for making improvements. That way, a company can reduce the chances of future sudden resignations.
Admin tasks to include in the resignation policy
Businesses should include admin tasks in the company employee resignation policy. HR should know what paperwork to complete and what documents to keep with employee files.
Certain administrative tasks should be assigned to different departments. For example, the IT department can handle changing employee passwords and saving files and documents correctly.
Company-owned equipment should be returned before an employee leaves. There should be a comprehensive list of the company-owned equipment an employee has in their possession filed in their employee HR file.
The equipment employees could have in their possession includes anything from laptops to uniforms and smartphones to access cards. HR should ensure that every item is returned before the employee leaves.
HR departments and management have an important task
When an employee tenders their notice or resigns, employers, specifically HR departments, are left to fill the void in their workforce. The HR department or management should begin the recruiting and hiring process as soon as possible to ensure that their workforce remains productive.
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