Ask the BPHR Advisor
BPHR’s Director Lisa Salcido, SPHR, SHRM-SCP provides answers to your pressing HR questions.
Question: My employee resigned with two weeks’ notice, but I want to end his employment today. Do I have to pay the full two weeks?
Answer: Giving two weeks’ notice before quitting is simply a professional courtesy and employers are not required to honor a resignation notice period. However, if you end the employment relationship earlier than the notice period, without pay, there are some risks:
The action of immediate dismissal could be considered an involuntary separation from the company. Depending on the state, the employee may claim a loss of wages entitling them to collect unemployment insurance benefits. This charge to your account may increase your company’s state unemployment tax rate. Avoid turning a resignation into a termination by paying the employee for the full two weeks.
If you have a company policy that requires advance notice of resignation, I recommend paying your employee through their notice period. A request for advance notice may be misinterpreted as a requirement. If the employee intended to meet the requirement, your policy could work against you by supporting the unemployment claim. Any ambiguity in the policy could create an obligation to allow the employee to complete, or be paid out, the notice period.
Consider the impact that not honoring a notice period would have on your remaining workers. When employees know that they will not be able to continue working for the duration of their notice period and will not be provided compensation in lieu of notice, they are more likely to quit without giving any notice.
Your employee handbook should explain what you expect from departing employees, your preferences regarding notice periods and how you will handle separations.
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Have a question for Lisa? Email her directly.
DISCLAIMER: The material presented on this page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion.