How to quit your job without giving notice

How to quit your job without giving notice

Maddy Price / The Balance

When you resign from a position, the standard practice is to give two weeks’ notice to your employer.   This gives you some time to wrap up any projects and allows your employer time to plan for your replacement. However, while you should make every effort to notify your supervisor of your resignation as soon as possible, sometimes circumstances require that you leave immediately.

How to Resign Without Notice

What’s the best way to resign without providing your employer with advance notice? How should you handle what could be a difficult situation when you need to resign right away? What should you do you need to give a shorter notice than the standard two weeks most employers expect?

Before making any decisions, review this information on whether you should or shouldn’t quit without notice.

Once you decide to leave without notice, use this resignation letter example to inform your employer that you need to resign immediately, and will not be able to give two weeks’ notice. Also, read below for tips on writing a resignation letter or email without notice.

What to Do Before You Quit

Before you turn in your resignation, check on the terms of your contract if you have one.

  • Check your contract. If you have an employment contract, review the terms to be sure you comply. You are legally bound by the terms of the agreement. If you’re not in compliance, you may wish to consult with an employment attorney before resigning.
  • Speak to your employer first. If possible, tell your boss in person that you will be leaving the company. Then, follow up with an official business letter. Send or email a copy of the letter to your manager and to the human resources department.

Tips for Writing a Resignation Letter Without Notice

Here are some tips on how to write a letter resigning from your job without notice.

  • State the date. In the letter, include the date you plan to leave the company. If you can stay for a week or so, say so. However, if you have to leave immediately, state this clearly at the beginning of your letter.
  • Don’t go into details. You do not need to give details on why you are leaving, or what you will be doing next. You want to keep your letter brief.
  • Express gratitude. This is a good opportunity to express your gratitude for the time you have worked at the company. However, if you are very unhappy with the company, do not complain or say anything negative in your letter. You want to maintain a good relationship with the employer, especially since you might have to ask him or her for a letter of reference in the future.
  • Ask any questions. If you resign without notice, be sure to clarify how your last paycheck, benefits, company equipment, and any other details regarding the termination of your employment should be handled. Your letter is a good opportunity to ask these questions.
  • Provide contact information. List any non-company email address, phone number, or another form of contact information that you want to include so that your employer can get in touch with you. This is especially important if you are leaving right away.
  • Follow business letter format. Use the official business letter format when writing your letter. If time is of the essence, you might consider sending a resignation email instead of a letter.

Resignation With No Notice Letter Example

You can use this no notice resignation sample as a model. Download the template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online), or read the text version below.

How to quit your job without giving notice

Resignation With No Notice Letter Example (Text Version)

Jennifer Rodriguez
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345
555-555-5555
[email protected]

Jackson Lee
Director
ABCD Company
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321

Please accept this letter as notification that I am resigning from my position with ABCD Company on September 15. I apologize for not being able to provide two weeks’ notice. I regret that, due to circumstances beyond my control, I need to resign immediately.

Please let me know what the process will be for receiving my last paycheck and remaining benefits. I am happy to collect the paycheck through Human Resources, or you could have them mail it to my home address.

Thank you so much for the support that you have provided me during my tenure with the company. I greatly appreciate your years of guidance.

Jennifer Rodriguez (signature hard copy letter)

Resignation Email With No Notice

No Notice Email Message Example (Text Version)

Subject: Ben Riley – Resignation

Dear Mr. Canvanaugh,

I regret to inform you that I am resigning from my position of customer service representative for Embassy International, effective Tuesday, August 14. I apologize for not being able to give a full two weeks’ notice, but it will be necessary for me to leave before then. I will do my best to get as much of my work done in the meantime so the next employee will have a smooth transition.

Thank you so much for the time I’ve spent at this job. Embassy International continues to be an excellent and supportive company, and I will miss working here very much.

Sending an Email Resignation Message

If you’re emailing your letter here’s how to send your email message, including what to include, proofing, double checking that you have all the information you need, and sending a test message.

List your name and the fact that you’re leaving in the subject line: Your Name – Resignation. Include your contact information (email, phone, and mailing address) in your signature under your typed name instead of in the heading of the letter.

Circumstances When You Don’t Have to Give Notice to an Employer

How to quit your job without giving notice

There are plenty of good reasons to quit your job. In a perfect world, you’d always quit one gig because another, better opportunity appeared.

Here in the real world, sometimes the decision to move on will be motivated less by exciting new horizons and more by wanting to escape a job you can’t stand.

Can You Quit Without Notice?

When that happens, the first question on many people’s minds is, “Do I have to give two weeks’ notice?” The next question is, “What happens if I can’t—or don’t want to—provide notice?”  

The Law Is on Your Side (But Beware)

Can you quit a job without notice? For many U.S. employees, the answer is, “Yes.” But that doesn’t mean that it’s wise to leave in a hurry.

Under normal circumstances, it’s best to give the standard notice—but there may be no legal reason why you can’t quit on the spot.

At-Will Employment. The vast majority of states in the U.S. have at-will employment, which means that either the employer or the employee can sever the relationship with no notice and for no stated cause. This means that your boss cannot prevent you from walking out the door without giving two weeks’ notice, even if the employment handbook says that this is the standard for the company.  

When You Have a Contract. However, if your employment is covered by an employment agreement, the terms of that contract may apply unless you are leaving for good cause. Your employment contract may also require you to forfeit benefits like unused vacation leave if you don’t provide sufficient notice.  

How to Decide When to Quit on Short Notice

Why is it best to give notice, given that you likely have no legal obligation to do so? Even during difficult employment situations, you may find these factors to be compelling reasons to give standard notice:

Maintaining your relationship with the employer. Even if you have no intention of ever working for this employer again, it makes sense to avoid burning your bridges. You never know when a previous employer might be contacted by a prospective one, so it is wise to leave on the best possible terms. It can impact your future employment options if a prospective employer is told that you quit without notice. Think about it from an employer’s perspective: would you want to hire someone who might leave you hanging?

Possible financial repercussions. While there’s likely nothing stopping an employer from cutting short your notice period, many employers will be happy to let you finish out your two weeks. Not only does this provide you with two additional weeks of pay, it also gives you time to line up other employment, if you haven’t already done so. Depending on the nature of your job, you may also have to pay penalties if you leave abruptly.

If you’re a contract worker, for example, and you leave before your contract is up, you might find yourself paying penalties.

So, should you quit without giving notice? Employees who are working under very difficult circumstances, or have just started a job and know it isn’t going to work out, often aren’t sure what to do. Generally speaking, if you want to quit, the answer is to give notice and then tough it out for two weeks. Of course, there are always exceptions.

When you have considered all the reasons that staying might make sense, and find that none of them apply, it’s time to consider the timing of your departure. Should you stick it out for another couple of weeks or are there occasions when you can give less than two weeks’ notice or no notice at all?

Reasons Not to Give Two Weeks’ Notice

There may be some circumstances where leaving sooner might be advisable, including the following:

  • An employee has been physically abusive.
  • A supervisor has sexually harassed you.
  • The work environment is hostile or otherwise unsafe, or it is unsafe to carry out your assigned responsibilities.
  • Your mental health is being seriously endangered by job stress.
  • You have not been paid the agreed-upon wage or wages have been withheld for an unreasonable length of time.
  • You have been asked to do something clearly unethical or illegal.
  • Personal or family circumstances are such that you need to leave the job.
  • A crisis has happened in your life, and there is no way you can continue the job.

Before You Quit Your Job

Talk to HR. In most cases, it will make sense to contact the human resources department or management officials not directly involved with your grievance to discuss your situation. HR might be able to help you explore possible remedies or accommodations prior to your giving notice.

Find support. In some cases, it will also make sense to consult a counselor or therapist to help you cope with job stress. Regardless, it’s a good idea to make sure you have a support system—friends, family, etc.—in place before you make a change.

Make a financial plan. Do keep in mind that the company can’t force you to stay. However, if you quit a job without good cause you may not be eligible for unemployment benefits. (Here’s information on collecting unemployment benefits when you quit a job.)

How to Quit Your Job

Even if you’re not giving much or any advance notice, there are ways to resign gracefully.

  • Talk to your boss. A conversation is always best, but if it’s not possible to discuss your resignation with your supervisor in person, you can use a phone call or email message to resign.
  • Be professional. Learn how to quit your job with class, including when to quit, what to say, and how to resign via email or a phone call, if necessary.
  • Help when you can. Even if you can’t stay for a whole two weeks, do what you can to leave on a positive note. This might mean offering an update on the state or your projects for supervisors or team members, or making yourself available for questions after your departure.

The information contained in this article is not legal advice and is not a substitute for such advice. State and federal laws change frequently, and the information in this article may not reflect your own state’s laws or the most recent changes to the law.

How to quit your job without giving notice

Image by Theresa Ciechi © The Balance

Under normal circumstances, it is typical to provide two weeks notice to your employer when you quit your job. You might even be required to stay longer than that, if you’re covered by an employment agreement that stipulates how much notice you need to give.

However, there are some occasions when you need to resign without giving notice, or giving less than two weeks notice. In those situations, it’s important to be sure that quitting immediately is in your best interests – and to be as professional as possible when leaving your job.

Should You Quit Without Notice?

Most U.S. employees not covered by an employment contract are employed at will. This means that neither you nor your company is required to provide a notice period prior to terminating employment. However, it’s considered good etiquette to let your employer know that you are leaving your job.

Why do employers want workers to give two weeks notice? In short, it helps them prepare for your departure. They’ll likely need to hire a replacement, as well as take other steps to continue business with as little disruption as possible when you’re gone.

For these reasons, it makes sense to be sure before leaving on short notice. Consider the feasibility of staying before you walk.

What to Do When You Can’t Stay

Sometimes, it can be difficult or even impossible to stay on the job. I’ve spoken to a couple of people who quit their job without providing two weeks notice and weren’t sure about the repercussions.

One person decided to quit after only having been on the job for a week. In this situation, it did not matter much that he did not give the employer notice since he had been there so briefly. He may not even want to mention this position when he applies for new jobs.

Another person simply stayed late at work one day, cleaned out her cubicle, and left a resignation letter on the desk of her supervisor. The letter apologized for not giving notice and said she needed to resign immediately.

If circumstances allowed, it would have been wiser for her to speak to her boss first, and then send her employer a resignation letter apologizing for not giving much notice, rather than just quitting without any notice.

Even though a conversation about leaving your job can be difficult, it can be smoother if it’s possible to take the time to explain why in person.

If it’s a difficult situation at work, it may not be wise to discuss it unless there is the possibility of changing whatever is going on so you can stay. However, if it’s for personal reasons, most people will understand that things can happen that are outside of our control.

A major family or personal illness, for example, can happen unexpectedly. A hostile work environment is another example of when it could be just too difficult to stay on.

When It’s Acceptable to Not Give Notice

That said, there can be times when it is just too difficult to stay. Two weeks can be a very long time when you’re in a stressful situation. Or, there may be personal reasons that make it impossible for you to continue to work.

If you need to leave without notice, it’s still best to discuss the matter with your boss before your departure. Then, you should put your intentions in writing, so that you’ll both have a record of the details.

Note that it isn’t necessary to provide a great deal of detail in your resignation letter. You may refer to family or personal issues if those are the reason for your departure, for example, but you needn’t get into the precise nature of the conflict.

Resignation Letter Without Notice Sample

No Notice Resignation Email Example

Subject: Resignation – Pamela Davis

I regret to inform you that I must tender my immediate resignation from my position with DEF Company.

While I appreciate the opportunity I had to work with your group, I am unfortunately unable to fulfill my duties any longer.

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When quitting a job, giving two weeks’ notice to your current employer is a customary and widely known standard that most people default to (or at least, feel obligated to follow).

It not only gives your current company a reasonable heads up that you’re leaving and therefore the opportunity to begin recruiting for your replacement if necessary, it also allows you to ease out of your current role and move on to your next opportunity in professional way. Yet, circumstances sometimes arise where you may wonder whether you really have to give those two weeks notice.

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Learn when quitting without giving notice is acceptable (hint: only in rare circumstances) and when you’re better off sticking to the standard.

The rules around giving notice when quitting

Although most might think so, the two weeks notice rule doesn’t come from a law – there are no federal or state laws that require an employee to provide two weeks’ notice to his or her employer before quitting – but instead, it’s more based on professionalism, courtesy and individual company policies.

Some employment contracts may stipulate that you must give two weeks notice or even longer before terminating your employment, with the penalty of losing unused vacation days or other benefits if you don’t comply. So if you’re thinking about leaving your job, it’s smart to dig up the employment contract you signed at your current company to see what rules are in place.

In any case, remember that in most states, most employment contracts are “at-will”, which means you can quit at any time, for any reason. The same goes the other way around though — your employer can fire you at any time, for any reason. In either scenario, giving some sort of notice is indeed just a courtesy, but for you to quit without giving two weeks notice means inviting some potential negative backlash on your career.

The perils of quitting without notice

The primary consequence of not giving notice when you’re quitting is the likelihood that you will very likely burn some bridges or otherwise leave a very negative impression – with the company itself, your boss or manager, your clients (if you have any), and your co-workers who are still at the company.

Even if the circumstances of your quitting weren’t great and things at your current company actually drove you to quit, it’s always smart to stay on good terms with an employer. Life is long, and you may need a reference or run into people from your old company in the future at a business function or other professional situation. Leaving your job with grace and tact can go a long way to maintain your professional reputation.

It’s also important to remember that no matter how much you want to “stick it” to your company, your coworkers are the ones most likely to suffer from you quitting. Your work will likely fall on your colleagues or subordinates until a replacement can be found, meanwhile, any clients may be caught by surprise by the sudden shift. This means that a whole network of people in your industry may be left with bad feelings about you if you quit unexpectedly and those negative feelings can follow you for the rest of your career.

Scenarios in where it actually might be okay to quit without notice

No matter your best intentions, there are still some rare circumstances where a decision to quit without notice might actually make a whole lot of sense. Some examples include:

  • Your manager fires anyone who gives notice. Some managers are unreasonable, and if past performance tells you that your boss will fire you immediately if you give notice, don’t waste your time. Go ahead and secure another position and quit without giving notice.
  • You’re being emotionally abused. If your manager or coworkers terrorize you at work or your mental health is in jeopardy the more time you spend at your current workplace, your professional relationships have likely already been ruptured beyond repair and staying for another two weeks is more damaging than beneficial. In this case, quitting without notice may be best for your own sanity, especially if the emotionally abuse might worsen after you’ve given notice.

Unless you find yourself in one of these rare circumstances, giving notice is the most professional and respectful way to leave your job. Spending an extra two weeks in an uncomfortable position may be worth preserving your professional reputation.

I started a new position in December. So far it’s going really well. I’m the HR Manager for a PR agency.

Since I started the job I’ve recommended a few changes in my company’s HR practices.

One change we made right away after I started has to do with departing employees. Before I arrived, when someone would resign from their position and give two weeks notice their manager could accept the notice period or tell the employee “You can leave right now.”

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From what I understand, sometimes in the past a manager would tell a departing employee “You can leave right now” out of spite, and not for any business reason.

The manager also got to decide whether or not to pay the employee for their two-week notice period. A manager could say “I’m not going to accept your two weeks’ notice — you can pack your stuff and leave now” and the employee would have to leave without collecting their last two weeks’ pay.

I was horrified when I heard that, to be honest. It’s not a good look for any company to punish an employee for giving notice!

We changed that policy and within two weeks, I heard from employees about it.

One employee told me “Last year one of my teammates quit, and our manager [who has left the company in the meantime] walked her out the door. That was so tacky. It made me want to quit, too. I held on because I like everything else about the job, but it really left a bad taste in my mouth for a manager to use his power to steal two weeks’ pay from someone just because they found a better job.”

That employee was right, in my opinion. I agree with you that the best way to compete with your competitors is to have the smartest and happiest employees around, and the way to accomplish that is to build a great culture that doesn’t treat employees like children.

Thanks for your support, Liz!

Let’s consider the idea that if you are quitting your job to work for a competitor, you can’t possibly be trusted to work two more weeks, but must thrown out the door, right now!

The idea makes no sense. You’ve been job-hunting for weeks or months while you were working at your job. Now that you’ve announced your plans to leave do you suddenly become a criminal, and an enemy of the firm?

Any manager who says “I decide on a case-by-case basis whether or not to pay the employees who give notice” is a fearful person who should not be leading a department.

Now that we know there is a segment of the management population that does not see any need to pay employees for their two-week notice period even though their firms ask employees to give notice, here is my advice to anyone who’s thinking about quitting their job:

Don’t give notice unless you know you will get paid for it!

Here are ten good reasons to quit your job without giving notice:

1. If you feel physically afraid to stay, then get out.

2. If you have already seen or heard of an employee in your company being walked out the door without the ability to work their last two weeks, then don’t chance it. Tell your boss you’re quitting on your last day of work, and not a moment before.

3. If you’re going to work for a competitor and you haven’t seen evidence that your company will honor your two week notice period, don’t give them the opportunity to jerk you around. Don’t give notice — just leave.

4. If you are already in a conflict with your boss and don’t want to expose yourself to more abuse at his or her hands, then don’t give notice. Ignore people who tell you “It’s unprofessional not to give notice!” It’s unprofessional not to give notice when you work for ethical and upright people. When you work for slimy people, the professional thing to do is to escape their clutches at the first opportunity.

5. Don’t give notice if you are hanging on by a thread emotionally and you know that remaining at your job for two more weeks will cause you to break down or say things you shouldn’t say. If your coworkers hate their jobs and start venting to you about that once you announce your departure, it may be very hard for you to stay silent about your own bad treatment. In that case it might be best to get out fast.

6. Don’t give notice if you need time to collect yourself and recover before you start your new job.

7. Don’t give notice if you feel that your boss will punish you for the crime of wanting to work for somebody else. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon occurrence. Some managers will use your last two weeks to insult you and put you down. Some of them will try to find out where you’re going to work, and slime you with your new employer. If you work for someone who could do terrible things like these, then just get out and forget about giving notice.

8. Don’t give notice if you don’t want to, and your new job is ready for you to start right away.

9. Skip the two week notice period if your company is laying people off anyway.

10. If your gut tells you that you’d be foolish to give your boss another reason to mistreat you, don’t do it. Just leave.

I’m glad you took your new job, Myrna. It sounds like you will be a great influence on your fellow managers, some of whom may have picked up bad habits at previous employers.

Your guidance will be invaluable to them and to your fellow employees, customers and shareholders.

How (and How Not) to Resign From a Job

How to quit your job without giving notice

How should you resign from your job when it’s time to move on to a new position or to do something else with your life? There are some things you should do, and other things you shouldn’t do when you turn in your resignation. There are good—and not so good—ways to resign, but it’s best to keep a cool head, keep it positive, and not burn your bridges.

Quitting a job can be a volatile time. For example, an angry employee could quit by leaving a note on a manager’s desk saying they quit and won’t be back. Another employee could get mad, yell at the boss, and walk out the door. Neither option, of course, is the best way to resign if you can help it. It just makes a difficult situation even more difficult.

Leaving on a positive, rather than a negative, note will give you a better chance of getting a good employment reference if needed later.

The employee who resigns gracefully, gives two weeks’ notice, writes a polite resignation letter, and thanks the employer for the opportunities they had during their tenure at the company will be appreciated even though he or she is moving on.

Resignation Do’s and Don’ts

You want to quit. So, take a deep breath and plan ahead. Here’s what you should (and what you shouldn’t) do when resigning from your job.

How to quit your job without giving notice

What to Do Before You Resign

Do Clean Up Your Computer. Even if you give notice, your employer may decide that you should be done right now, and you may be shown the door. Before you turn in your resignation, clean up your computer. Delete personal files and email messages, but make sure you have the contact information for everyone you need to keep in touch with after you’re gone.

Do Write a Resignation Letter. It’s a good idea to write a formal resignation letter for your employment file, even if you resign via email or on the phone. You don’t need to say much more than you’re leaving and when your last day of work will be.

If you’re not sure what to say, review these resignation letter samples for just about every resignation scenario you can think of—from formal, to heartfelt, to relocation, returning to school, and other personal resignation situations. Or, take a look at the following sample resignation letter, sent by email, for inspiration.

What Not to Do Before You Resign

Don’t Put Anything Negative in Writing. Regardless of how much you hate your job, hate your boss, or hate the company, don’t say it. Even if quitting is the best career move you’ve made up to this point, keep it to yourself.

It’s best to be careful with your words, so here’s what to say when you quit your job. Also, review what not to say when you resign. Your resignation letter will be placed in your employment file, and it can come back to haunt you—even years after you have resigned. It honestly isn’t worth venting.

If you’ve got issues at work, it’s more appropriate to deal with them before you leave or let go of them since you’re moving on.

What to Do When You Resign

Do Give Notice When Possible. Unless the situation is untenable, giving two weeks’ notice is standard practice when resigning. There are some reasons when you could quit without notice, such as if you’ve been endangered or sexually harassed. But if those reasons don’t fit your current situation and you want to leave sooner, it’s appropriate to ask if you can leave right away.

Get the Details. When you tell your boss or Human Resources Department that you’re leaving be sure to get the details on the employee benefits and salary you’re entitled to when you leave. Inquire about continuing health insurance coverage through COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) or through the government’s Health Insurance Marketplace, collecting unused vacation and sick pay, and keeping, cashing in, or rolling over your 401(k) or another pension plan.

  • COBRA vs. Marketplace Insurance When You Lose a Job
  • How to Handle a Pension When You Leave a Job
  • How to Handle a 401(k) When You Leave a Job

Do Offer to Help. If it’s feasible, offer to help during the transition and afterwards. The offer may not be accepted, but it will be appreciated.

Do Ask for a Reference. Ask your boss and colleagues if they would be willing to give you a reference. If they agree, ask them to write you a LinkedIn recommendation as well as being available via email or phone. You’ll have the reference as part of your LinkedIn profile, which is great for your future job search endeavors.

What Not to Do When You Resign

Don’t Be Negative. When talking about your resignation with co-workers, try to emphasize the positive and talk about how the company has benefited you, even though it’s time to move on. There’s no point in being negative—you’re leaving, and you want to leave on good terms.

Don’t Brag About Your New Job. Even if you just got the best job in the world, don’t brag about it. Is there really any point in making your soon-to-be ex-colleagues feel badly that you’re leaving? They’ll miss you, and you’ve got a great job to go to so don’t boast about it.

Don’t Forget to Say Goodbye. Before you leave, take the time to send a farewell message to co-workers and to let them know that you are moving on to a new position, starting a job search, retiring, or doing something else with your life. It’s appropriate to send an email farewell message. Include your contact information, so that you can stay in touch. Here’s more on how to say farewell to colleagues.

Review a Sample Resignation Letter

Subject Line: Resignation – Omar Robinson

I’m writing today to let you know that I am resigning from my position as Marketing Coordinator at ABC Company. My last day will be in two weeks, on Friday, September 15.

I’m grateful for all of your support and training during my three years at ABC Company, as well as your friendship. You’ve made each day brighter. I’ve learned so much thanks to you and everyone else on the marketing team.

Please let me know how I can help during this transitional period. At the end of the month, I’ll be starting a new position as Marketing Manager at XYZ Company, but you can always get in touch if questions come up. My personal email is [email protected] and my phone number is (555) 555-5555.

Thank you again. It’s truly been a pleasure working with you, and I wish you and everyone at ABC Company all the best.

When you just gotta go

Quitting without notice is the ultimate no-no…right? The practice is generally frowned upon, but sometimes it’s your only option. Leaving your job with less than two weeks notice is a big decision to make, so what might the consequences be for your career now and in the future?

When it’s okay to quit without notice

Quitting a job without notice can be a tough decision to make. Sometimes situations in life occur that make it impossible to work: medical issues and family emergencies that become long-term responsibilities. Sometimes a toxic work environment is the reason you need to leave quickly. And in those situations, you have to do what is best for you, on a timeline that works for you. You’re the only one who knows whether or not leaving a position without notice is the right decision.

Will leaving quickly damage your career?

We’ve all been told that quitting a job without notice could do irreparable damage to your career. But while leaving without notice is generally frowned upon, it won’t wreck your career or your life.

It can be difficult to ask your employer for a reference down the line if they feel you left them in the lurch. It may also inconvenience your coworkers for a short period of time. But if leaving your job is truly necessary, those are the risks you might have to take.

Before you leave your job without giving notice, be sure to look at your contract, if you have one. Certain contracts might stipulate specific terms under which you’re legally required to give notice. If you are in an industry that frequently relies on contracts and word of mouth, really do consider if you have any options that wouldn’t mean your quitting immediately. You don’t want a reputation for breaking contracts.

How does it affect your coworkers?

No matter how you leave a job, with or without notice, your coworkers will be affected. You know what it’s like when the team is suddenly down a member. There is just more slack to be picked up. If you have to quit your job without notice, it’s likely your coworkers will be asked to cover your duties—and they might not be happy about it. If you feel comfortable doing so, you could let them know about the circumstances surrounding your exit. Your explanation could provide them with some context that encourages empathy.

How much information do you have to give?

Although it’s a cliché, honesty is generally the best policy. Of course, you should give your employer only the information you are comfortable with them having. It’s understandable that your employer will expect some sort of explanation, but they should respect that you are only able to give a certain amount of information. To put it simply, there’s no amount of information that you have to give. You should aim for honesty but give so much information that you feel exposed or uncomfortable.

If the reason you’re leaving your job without notice is due to a hostile work environmen t that is negatively impacting your physical or mental health, it might be a good idea to explain that to the higher ups, or at the very least express that in your exit interview. Maybe they don’t understand the unhealthy situation that’s been created and they can take steps to alleviate the pain points for the employees who stay on. And, who knows, maybe those changes will be enough to encourage you to stay.

Quitting without notice can be an awkward situation, but if you are truthful and appropriately apologetic it can be successfully navigated. It’s usually best to tell your boss or supervisor face to face, if that is possible. Sitting down with your boss will allow you to give some context, although many employers will still require a formal resignation letter —or at least a resignation email. Below, we’ve included an example letter to get you started.

Sample resignation letter – no notice

Please accept this letter as formal notice that I am resigning from my position as [your job title] effective immediately. I value the time I’ve spent at [company name] and I’m grateful for the opportunities I had to [insert some of your positive job duties].

I’m sorry I have to leave with such short notice, but I am confident that the [name of your department] team will continue to thrive. If you, or the team, have any questions, please email me at [your email address]; I’m happy to help with the transition any way I can.

If your working day is getting you down, do you sometimes imagine getting up from your desk and shouting “I quit” before marching towards the door in a blaze of glory? That’s the fantasy, but if you’ve a job with a long notice period, can you actually just walk out?

How to quit your job without giving notice

When you resign from a job, you’re normally expected to give a certain amount of notice. During this notice period, your employer may begin their search for a suitable replacement, and it gives you the opportunity to tie up any loose ends before you leave the company.

However, you may be in a situation whereby you’re unable or unwilling to serve this notice. In this blog, we take a look at everything you need to know about notice periods.

What is my notice period?

In the UK, if an employee wants to leave their job, they’re usually required to give their employer warning. This is referred to as a notice period.

Normally, your notice period will be set out in your employment contract. This will detail exactly how much notice you need to give if you wish to resign, so it’s important that you read this document carefully.

If your employment contract doesn’t state what your notice period is, you should give at least one week’s notice before you leave your role. You should announce your resignation in writing, such as in an email or letter. You’ll need to state how much notice you’re giving and when your last day at work will be. Your notice period will begin the day after you formally resign .

Do I have to work my notice period?

Ideally, you should adhere to the notice period set out in your employment contract. If you would prefer to give a shorter notice period than this, you should speak to your employer. You may be able to reach an agreement with them whereby they waive or reduce your notice period. This way, you’ll not be breaching your employment contract.

If your employer doesn’t grant you a shorter notice period, it’s important to think about whether you leaving would result in financial harm or result in other difficulties for them. If your absence is likely to cause your employer problems, both financially and logistically, they could bring legal action against you.

Do I get paid during my notice period?

You should receive your normal pay if you work during your notice period. This will also include any benefits you’re entitled to, such as pension contributions

Can I take holiday during my notice period?

Ultimately, it’s up to your employer to decide whether you can take holiday while you work your notice period if you request it. If they allow you to do so, you’re entitled to your normal pay.

When you leave, you’ll also be paid for any holiday allowance that you’ve accrued but haven’t taken. Your employer could instruct you to take any holidays you haven’t used up. It’s worth consulting your employment contract for the details about leftover holidays. Read more about employers dictating holidays .

Can I work elsewhere during my notice period?

This could also be in breach of your contract. If you leave your job to work elsewhere during your notice period, your employer could instigate legal action to stop you doing this. For example, your employer could seek an injunction if they can prove you’ve left to work for a competitor, or if they believe you’re putting their business interests at risk, such as by potentially disclosing confidential and sensitive information.

What can my employer do if I don’t work my notice period?

Your employer can’t restrain you from leaving the building, so there’s no chance of you being physically stopped if you were to pack up your personal belongings, walk out the door and not return. However, if you leave without serving the correct notice period, you’re likely to be breaching your contract. This means that your employer could potentially sue you.

What are the chances of you being sued?

After breaching your contract by walking out, you can be sued for damages. Your former employer would have to show financial loss caused by your early departure. Damages aren’t the only thing your employer might want. Your employer could seek an injunction from the court. If it’s successful, this could stop you from going to work elsewhere until you’ve completed your notice period, or longer if you’ve gained a competitive advantage by breaching your contract.

If the impact of you leaving the business without giving notice is minimal, the chances of your employer suing you for leaving without working out your notice period is low. To a certain extent, it depends on what kind of role you’re in and what company you’re leaving your current job to work for.

For example, if you’re in a senior position and your role can’t be easily filled or you’re leaving for a competitor, the impact on the business may be considerable and your employer may be more likely to threaten action. If you’re a company director or you’ve responsibility for company assets or client money, you’re likely to have additional obligations, such as fiduciary duties, which are also relevant.

How can Slater and Gordon help?

The potential risks of leaving without serving your notice period will very much depend upon your individual circumstances. If you’re considering doing this, you should seek strategic and legal advice from Slater and Gordon Lawyers.

Our employment solicitors are highly trained and have the knowledge, skills and experience to handle your case. If you’re facing legal action from your employer as a result of failing to work your notice period, we’ll work closely with you every step of the way, doing everything we can to help you achieve the outcome you’re aiming for.

For a consultation, you can call Slater and Gordon Lawyers on freephone 0161 830 9632 . Our contact centre is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Alternatively, you can contact us online and we’ll call you back at a time that suits you.

All information was correct at the time of publication.