Resignation notice is also called notice of resignation, which is often referred to as two weeks notice of resignation.
It's a traditional, common courtesy for American workers to submit resignation notice to their employers at least two weeks in advance of quitting their jobs. Workers typically submit such in a formal resignation letter, also called a letter of resignation.
However, as a general rule under the Doctrine of Employment at Will, workers may quit their jobs at anytime without submitting advanced resignation notice to their employers.
But, as with most general rules, there are exceptions. For example, workers who:
- Work under employment contracts that require them to give minimum contract termination or resignation notice risk breach of contract if they fail to give such notice
- Don't submit the minimum resignation notice required by documented company policies risk losing termination benefits, such as accrued sick pay, because of policy violation
- Don't submit the minimum resignation notice required by state final pay laws risk delaying employer delivery of their final paychecks
Additionally, workers who just walk off the job might "burn bridges" with their former employers. That might come back on the workers down the road, such as during background checks. Consequently, whether or not submitting advanced resignation notice is required by an employment contract, company policy or state law, it's a good idea to extend the courtesy.
It's also a good idea to double-check your employer's relevant policy (or your employment contract) for the minimum resignation notice required, instead of assuming it's the traditional two weeks. Some employers require more, especially for mission-critical jobs.
If you're quitting at a particularly busy time for your employer, consider giving more than the minimum resignation notice to avoid bridge burning. But, of course, don't jeopardize your new job by delaying your start date.
If you do submit your resignation notice in compliance with company policy, but your employer "punishes" you anyway, such as by delaying your final paycheck, then the wage and hour (or equivalent) division of the state labor department might assist you in collecting your due, and perhaps interest and a penalty if state law permits. Alternately, a lawyer might assist you in collecting same, along with legal-fee reimbursement.
Don't feel guilty about submitting your resignation notice. Workers quit their jobs everyday. If you feel guilty anyway, consider that your employer might have discharged you in a heartbeat without an ounce of guilt, if it was to your employer's advantage to do so. Workers get fired or laid off everyday too!
Your employer likely has the right to terminate your employment before your resignation notice period ends, despite that you complied with company policy. Read Resignation Pay for more information.