How Long of A Notice Period Should You Give
Updated 15 December 2022
When exiting a company, it’s standard to provide your manager or supervisor with a letter of resignation. When you submit your letter with a reasonable notice period, you show respect by allowing your supervisor enough time to organise workflow and tasks prior to your departure. In this article, we will discuss what a notice period is and how you can determine the appropriate length of your notice period.
What is a notice period?
A notice period is the length of time you will continue working between delivering your resignation letter until your final day of work. Notice periods are typically two weeks or longer, but it depends on your industry, role, type of employment and tenure at the organisation.
Why give a notice period?
Recruitment can be a lengthy process, particularly in specialised fields. For example, your human resource department will need to process your notice of resignation, create a job description to replace your position and get approval for a recruitment budget. This process often goes through several interdepartmental checkpoints before the application goes live. All of this takes time. In addition to being respectful of the company’s time, here are several reasons to provide a notice period:
To maintain a positive relationship with your workplace: Whether you are in a position for a few months or a few years, it’s beneficial to leave on positive terms. When you apply for future positions, you may need recommendations or referrals from your current employer. Providing a considerate notice may increase your former employer’s likelihood to speak positively about your time with the company.
So that your company can organise your replacement and continue its workflow: Providing your employer with a notice period will enable any teams you have worked with to plan for your absence. You will give them enough time to organise your replacement or fill in any gaps in the workflow.
You may have agreed to a contract or terms and conditions: You may have signed a contract or agreed to terms of employment at the start of your position. The terms and conditions of employment often state how long your notice period will be. It’s often based on your tenure at the organisation.
How to determine the length of your notice period
There are many variables to consider when you determine the length of your notice. Use these to guide your decision:
Did you sign a contract at the beginning of your employment that state a notice period requirement?
How long have you been in your position or worked for the company?
Are you a full-time, part-time or casual employee?
Are you in the middle of completing a large project for your company?
Are you resigning from your job around the end of the financial year?
Why are you resigning, and what are your career goals?
1. Did you sign a contract at the beginning of your employment?
If you signed a contract, it may include details about how long of a notice period you need to provide. When planning your resignation, it may be beneficial to check your employment contract first and use it as a guide before planning your next steps.
2. How long have you been in your position or worked for the company?
It’s common courtesy to give at least a one-week notice to your employer if you’ve been with your company for less than a year. However, if you can, consider giving a two-week notice even if you’ve been with your company for a few months as this can give your employer more time to find a replacement for your position.
If you’ve been with the company between one and three years, it’s common courtesy to give at least a two-week notice. Give a three-week notice if you’ve been at the company for three to five years, and four-weeks if you’ve been at the company for more than five years.
However, if you know that the hiring process for your company is lengthy, or your position is hard to fill, feel free to give a four-week notice even if you’ve been at the company for less than five years.
3. Are you a full-time, part-time or casual employee?
Depending on your employment, you may not be required to give a notice period at all. For example, unless specified in your contract, casual employees can end their employment without notice. Full-time and part-time employees should on the other hand provide a notice period either based on their tenure at their organisation or what is stated in their contract.
However, even as a casual employee, it’s always a good idea to give some kind of notice to your employer, otherwise you risk the chance of burning any bridges between you and your manager, colleagues and the company.
4. Are you in the middle of completing a large project for your company?
The length of the notice period you give can also depend on your outstanding work. Consider how long it will take to train and pass off any unfinished work to a colleague or new employee. If you are working on a big project or possess unique knowledge and skills that your colleagues may not have, take it into consideration when deciding how long of a notice period to provide.
5. Are you resigning from your job around the end of the financial year?
Many businesses operate around the financial calendar to determine when to wrap up projects and set new goals for the following year. If you’re considering giving your notice of resignation, factor in whether it will be impacted by the financial year calendar.
6. Why are you resigning, and what are your career goals?
Consider whether you are resigning because of another job you’ve already secured, to branch out as a contractor or to take some time off work. Your career goals can help you determine the length of your notice period. For example, if you already have another job lined up, you may not have the opportunity to provide a four-week notice period. However, if you’re resigning to take some time off work, you may be in a better position to provide a longer notice period.
Related: How To Create a Career Plan
How to communicate your notice of resignation
To communicate your resignation in a professional manner, ask for a meeting to submit a formal letter addressed to your supervisor. It’s a good idea to submit both a physical and digital copy of your letter as the HR department may want to file your resignation letter.
For resignation letters, follow these steps to compile a professional letter:
Keep the letter short.
State why you’re leaving and when your last day will be.
List only positive reasons for leaving. You’ll want to continue having a positive relationship with your employer after you move on.
Thank your employer for your time with the company and offer to help with any transitions.
Sample of a resignation letter:
[Place of Business]
Dear [Supervisor Name],
I am writing to inform you of my intent to resign from my position at [Business Name] as the [position] effective [last day of work]. Thank you for the opportunity to work with the [business department]. I have enjoyed my time working with this team and progressing in [industry]. I have learnt and grown professionally during my time here.
I am happy to help in the transition process or training of anyone who will fill my position between now and [final day of work].
Thank you for understanding my decision to leave the company to pursue [reason for leaving]. I wish you all the best for future continued success.
Explore more articles
- How to Write a Youth Worker Cover Letter (With Example)
- How to Write a Cabin Crew Resume (with a Resume Template)
- Soft Skills: Definitions and Examples
- How To Improve Your Attention To Detail in 4 Steps
- How to Write a Publicist Resume (With Template and Example)
- How to Write a Child Care Cover Letter With No Experience
- Vet Nurse Cover Letter (With Template and Example)
- Tips for Writing a Bartender Resume (With Bartender Skills)
- How To Format a Cover Letter (With Tips and Examples)
- How to Write a Graduate Cover Letter (With Example)
- 6 Examples of Electrician Skills (With Improvement Steps)
- What Is a Resume Check? (And How to Use These Tools)