Do I Get Paid if I Give Two Weeks' Notice and Then Get Fired?

by Ron White, Demand Media
    Providing notice can lead to early termination.

    Providing notice can lead to early termination.

    Many companies request that employees provide notice when planning to quit their jobs. The standard time for a notice is two weeks. When employees leave a company, though, it can create bad blood between employees and the boss. Some employers fire the employee rather than allow him to work during the notice period. Employees need to understand how being fired after providing notice affects them. The main impact is in terms of pay. Employees who are fired after giving notice risk losing some pay.

    Pay Requirements

    Generally, employers are obligated to pay employees only for hours actually worked. If the employer terminates employment before the two-week notice period ends, the employer is not required to pay you wages for the missed work time unless certain criteria apply. Therefore, you risk losing two weeks of pay when you provide an employer with notice and are immediately terminated. A good way to avoid this is to give no notice if you believe that your employer might fire you. If you have worked for the company for a lengthy period, you may know if other employees were allowed to work after giving notice. If you don't have a feel as to past practices, it might pay to ask co-workers.

    Unemployment Compensation

    An employer may fire an employee for any reason. At-will employment laws, which exist in 49 states, allow an employer to terminate employment without cause. In such instances, the employee is not entitled to receive unemployment compensation for the period between the termination date and the end of the notice period. In a few states, employees are protected against wrongful termination, or termination that is deemed unreasonable or unfair. In these states, wrongful termination may provide an employee with the right to claim unemployment benefits when the employee is fired after providing an employer with notice. To avoid paying unemployment compensation, an employer in a wrongful termination state must provide that the firing was for reasons other than the employee’s decision to quit. Employees in wrongful termination states must go through a one-week waiting period. Thus, they could only receive pay for the second week of their expected notice period if they provide a two-week notice. A longer notice and an earlier termination could provide the employee with more compensation.

    Contractual Obligations

    While you might not be eligible for unemployment compensation, you may be eligible to file suit against an employer. This includes when your employer provided you with an employment manual that specifically states that employees cannot be fired after providing notice. More common is an employment contract between employer and employee that spells out severance pay terms. If you have a contract that requires the employer to pay you under certain terms, you may be able to file a claim. You must decide at that point whether the pay you hope to receive is sufficient to justify the cost of filing a civil suit against the employer.

    Vacation Pay

    If you have accumulated unused vacation time, you may be eligible for reimbursement. Many companies have a policy of paying this to employees after they leave the company. The company, though, might withhold vacation or bonus pay if you fail to give two weeks’ notice before leaving your job. In most cases, the company will pay you for your unused personal time even if you are fired. Therefore, termination after giving two weeks’ notice should not cause you to lose your vacation or personal time pay.

    Precautions

    Never give an employer notice before you know that you have another job. Your employer may terminate your employment and leave you with a gap between paychecks. It is also unwise to tell the employe the name of the company that you are joining. Some employers might contact the new company and cause problems for you.

    About the Author

    Based in Central Florida, Ron White has worked as professional journalist since 2001. He specializes in sports and business. White started his career as a sportswriter and later worked as associate editor for Maintenance Sales News and as the assistant editor for "The Observer," a daily newspaper based in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. White has written more than 2,000 news and sports stories for newspapers and websites. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University.

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