As a business owner, you know how hard it can be when someone leaves a job abruptly. You may have no one in line to replace them, and it takes time to train up a new worker.
As a result, you would like to have your employees give you a standard two weeks’ notice. This allows you to begin the search for a replacement and you might even be able to have the employee do some of the training during those two weeks. Can you go to your employees and tell them that they have to do this?
You can ask them to, but you can’t force them to
Many employers do ask their employees to provide some sort of notice before they leave. Two weeks is generally considered the industry standard, and a lot of workers will do this without even being asked. You are certainly allowed to go to your workers and express the fact that you would like them to give you advance warning in order to help out the company.
What you can’t do is force them to give you that notice. If a worker tells you that they want to quit and it’s their last day, if they’re an at-will employee, they’re fully within their rights to do that. You can’t mandate that they have to give you any amount of notice. Technically, they don’t even have to tell you. They can just leave. At-will employees are only required to work at the business for as long as they would like.
This does change if your employees have contracts. Once you put something in the contract, such as an obligation to provide notice before quitting, and the employee signs that contract, then they are bound by it. They are no longer an at-will employee. They have to abide by the contract and so does your company.
Deciding on a course of action
Most companies hire at-will employees, but some do provide contracts in order to use stipulations like the ones discussed above. As you decide on the course of action that you’d like to take at your business, just make sure you understand what legal rights you and the employees have at every step.