If you need to leave your current position and want to remain in good standing with your employer, you will need to give your company sufficient notice so they can prepare for your departure. Letting your employer know that you plan to leave the firm is considered polite and professional, and most employers expect at least a brief notice period.
If you want to use your employer as a reference in the future, leaving a notice helps you preserve the professional relationship and end on a positive note. In this article, we explain the proper procedure for giving a notice period to your employer before you leave a position.
What is a notice period?
A notice period is the time range an employee sets between informing their employer of their resignation and their last day. When informing your manager that you plan to leave, clearly state when your last day will be to set the term of your notice period. Likewise, an employer is also under an obligation to give employees a fair notice period letter informing them about the termination of the contract.
An employee can hand over their resignation without prior notice if they think there has been a transgression on the part of the company. Similarly, an employer can terminate the contract of an employee if they committed serious misconduct. You can also quit or be dismissed without notice if you live in an area with at-will employment laws.
How long should the notice period be?
There's no universal rule as to when you should give a notice period and for how long. Two weeks is a standard notice period for many positions, although high-level leadership positions and highly technical jobs need a longer notice period to enable the company to reorganise their essential functions. In the United Kingdom, the legally required notice period depends on how long you have worked at the firm:
- No notice required if you have only been employed for a month or less
- One week's notice if you have worked with the company for up to two years
- One week for each year of employment if you have been at your job for between two and 12 years
- 12 weeks notice for more than 12 years working at a company
Businesses often outline their notice expectations when you sign an employment contract during onboarding. When deciding how much notice to give, think about how your notice could impact your remaining time at the workplace and how long it would take you to transfer your responsibilities to your coworkers or a new hire. Be considerate of company operations while also prioritising your career needs. If you have another job lined up in a month and are on good terms with your employer, you could consider giving a longer notice to ease the transition.
What is 'pay in lieu'?
If you submit your notice period letter, instead of letting you work for the requested amount of time, your employer may ask you to leave immediately. In such cases, you will be given the due salary for your notice period even if you don't work. For instance, if you have given two weeks' time as your notice period but your boss asks you to leave immediately, then you will be provided two weeks' salary without needing to work. This can happen only if your contract says you are eligible for pay in lieu and does not apply in at-will situations.
What is 'garden leave'?
Some employers may ask you to leave right after you submit your notice period letter while still keeping you on the rolls as an employee, a process known as 'garden leave.' This is a special case where workers are exempted from doing their job to maintain the company's confidentiality and access to essential information during a transition period. This becomes more important if you are leaving your current company to join a competitor firm.
During 'garden leave,' you are still contractually obligated to your employer even though you are not working, compared to pay in lieu where you are immediately terminated as an employee and are free to work for other companies.
How to give a notice period
There are a few widely accepted ways to hand over your notice period letter. Giving a notice of resignation takes tact, especially if you are leaving the company because of dissatisfaction with management or a similar conflict. Approaching the situation with respect and considering the impact of your departure can help the process go smoothly. Here are a few tips to help you hand over your notice period letter:
- Continue good work ethics
- Write a brief and professional letter
- Be grateful and positive
- Inform your employer in person
- Expect a counteroffer
- Stay confident
1. Continue good work ethics
Once you decide you are going to leave your position, continue to hold yourself to a high standard of professional behaviour. One of the key functions of handing in a resignation letter is to maintain respect and uphold a consistent workflow during the time of transition. Your actions during a notice period can have an impact on your professional reputation and influence the people around you. Make a personal commitment to have a positive attitude and properly carry out your duties all the way to your last day.
2. Be brief and professional
When explaining that you are leaving the company, be positive and concise. The letter should list your last day and summarise in a respectful way why you are leaving. If you have another work opportunity, you can explain that you are leaving to pursue the next step in your career. Do not list long descriptions of grievances and workplace issues in the notice. Instead, save these topics for the exit interview or schedule a separate meeting with human resources. Briefly explain your course of action, then describe how you will help the company transition if possible.
3. Be grateful and positive
In a sentence or two, tell your employer how grateful you are for the opportunity they provided you at their company. Reflecting on your job as a learning experience and showing thanks for their guidance can affirm your positive professional relationship. If you want to ask this employer for a reference or recommendation letter, being appreciative in your notice is a great foundation.
4. Inform your boss in person
Speak to your boss about your resignation and notice period directly, even if you have emailed and given them a hard copy of your letter. This shows respect toward their role in your professional development and also ensures that they can act on the information quickly. Speaking to your manager in person gives them a chance to explain company exit procedures and provides you with the opportunity to ask them questions.
5. Expect a counteroffer
If you've always been dedicated to the company and were regarded as an asset to its success, then it may be hard for your employer to let you go. They may want to keep you and offer you a pay raise or bonus or try to make enhancements to your contract. At this point, evaluate the counteroffer carefully and avoid making hasty decisions. Analyse all options and select what works best for you.
6. Be confident
Regardless of why you are resigning, be confident that you made the right decision for yourself and your career. Changing jobs can be a significant life change, and you might feel nostalgic about good times with your coworkers, relieved that you are moving on or many other emotions once you give your notice. Allow yourself to process the change so that you can move confidently into your next position.
Notice period template
Mention the duration of your notice period and explain the reason why you are resigning.
Write a brief paragraph about your experience in the firm and show gratefulness.
Applicant's signature on the hard copy
Notice period example
If you are still puzzled about writing a notice period letter, then you can take help from the sample provided below.
184, Mahatma Gandhi Road
Hyderabad - 230 138
*02 January, 2020
94, Jawaharlal Nehru Road
Hyderabad - 500 082
Dear Mr Singh,
I am writing this letter to inform you about my resignation from MaxFree, effective one month from today. My time at the company had been exceptional and I got to meet some of the most talented people and amazing colleagues. Also, working under your guidance was an honour for me. However, I have received an offer for a job that has always been my dream and I want to take my passion to another level.
I hope I've been a good employee for your company and brought some value to it. Further, I am grateful for all the opportunities you have provided me in your company. I'll be more than happy to assist in any task that will help make my replacement easier for you and the firm.
Pratap Kumar (signature in hard copy)