Is It Illegal to Quit a Job Without Notice? – The Answers and More

If your working day is getting you down, do you ever imagine getting up from your desk and shouting “I quit” before marching in a blaze of glory towards the door? That’s the fantasy, but Is It Illegal to Quit a Job Without Notice? When you resign from a job, you should usually give some notice. Your employer may begin looking for a suitable replacement during this notice period, and it allows you to tie up any loose ends before leaving the company. 

However, you might find yourself in a situation where you can’t or won’t serve this notice. Everything you need to know about notice periods will be covered in this article.

How Long Will My Notice Period Be?

If an employee wishes to leave their job in the United Kingdom, they must usually give their employer notice. This is referred to as the notice period. Your notice period will, in most cases, be specified in your employment contract. You must read this document carefully because it will specify how much notice you must provide if you wish to resign. If your employment contract does not specify a notice period, you should leave your job with at least one week’s notice.

In writing, such as an email or a letter, you should formally announce your resignation. You must state how much notice you are giving and when you will be leaving your job. Your notice period will begin the day after you formally resign.

Is It Required That I Work During My Notice Period?

Ideally, you should adhere to the notice period specified in your employment contract. If you prefer to give less notice, you should discuss it with your boss. You might be able to reach an agreement with them to waive or reduce your notice period. This is not a way for you to break your employment contract. If your employer refuses to give you a shorter notice period, think about whether your departure will cause them financial or other difficulties. If your absence is likely to cause financial or logistical problems for your employer, they may pursue legal action against you.

What Are The Chances That You Will Be Sued?

If you break your contract, you may be held liable for damages. Your former employer would have to show that you caused them financial harm by leaving early. Your boss may be looking for more than just damages. Your employer may seek an injunction from the court. If it is successful, you may be prohibited from working elsewhere until you have completed your notice period or longer if you have gained a competitive advantage by breaking your contract.

Your employer’s chances of suing you for failing to work out your notice period are slim if the impact of your leaving the company without giving notice is minor. It depends on the type of role you’re in and the company you’re leaving to work for to some extent. For example, if you’re in a senior position and it’s difficult to fill it, or you’re leaving for a competitor, the impact on the company could be significant, and your employer might threaten legal action. You may have additional responsibilities, such as fiduciary duties if you are a company director or have responsibility for company assets or client money.

Is it OK to Leave a Job Without Giving Notice?

Is it illegal to quit a job without notice? Although it is generally frowned upon, in some cases it may be your only option. What are the implications of leaving your job with less than two weeks’ notice for your current and future career?

When Is It Okay To Leave Without Notification?

It can be difficult to leave a job without notice. Circumstances arise in life that makes working impossible, such as medical issues or family emergencies that turn into long-term responsibilities. You may need to leave quickly because of a toxic work environment. And in those circumstances, you must do what is best for you, according to your schedule. Only you can decide whether or not quitting your job without notice is the best option.

Will It Be Detrimental to Your Career if You Leave Without Warning?

We’ve all heard that quitting a job without notice can damage your career permanently. While leaving without notice is frowned upon, it will not jeopardize your career or life. If your employer believes you abandoned them, it can be difficult to ask for a reference later. For a short period of time, it may also cause some inconvenience to your coworkers. However, if quitting a job is truly necessary, you may have to accept those risks.

If you have one, review your contract before quitting your job without notice. Certain contracts may include specific terms requiring you to provide notice. If you work in a field where contracts and word of mouth are frequently used, think about whether you have any other options that don’t require you to quit right away. You don’t want to be associated with contract violations.

What Is the Impact on Your Coworkers?

Regardless of how you leave a job, with or without notice, your coworkers will be affected. You’ve known what it’s like when a team member leaves unexpectedly. To put it another way, there is more slack to be picked up. Your coworkers will most likely be asked to cover your duties if you are forced to leave your job without notice, and they may be unhappy about it. You could inform them of your departure circumstances if you feel comfortable doing so. Your explanation may give them context, which may help them empathize with you.

What Is The Best Way For An Employee To Give Notice?

Your employee can give their resignation notice in one of two ways:

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The law does not require an employee to resign in writing. If an employee chooses to resign verbally, the employer should confirm the resignation in writing. This is required for you and your employee to be on the same page. The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) requires employers to keep records of when employees leave the company, including information about who fired them and how it happened.


Employees may resign by submitting a Resignation Letter. This will confirm your resignation and ensure that there are no misunderstandings. This is the preferred method of verbally resigning. Ideally, you should do both simultaneously and explain your resignation in your letter. The date of your resignation, a brief explanation of why you are resigning, your last day at work, and your signature should all be included in your resignation letter. You can quickly and easily create a Letter of Resignation online if you want to leave your current job.

Note: When resigning, permanent employees are usually required by law to give notice. National legislation or your employment contract determines the length of your notice period. Employees who work on a casual basis, on the other hand, are not required to give any notice. Employees who are still on probation are required to give only a few days’ notice.

What Is the Maximum Amount of Information You Can Provide?

Honesty is always the best policy, despite the cliche. Naturally, you should only share information with your employer that you are comfortable with them knowing. Your boss will understandably expect an explanation, but keep in mind that you can only provide so much information. To put it another way, there is no limit to how much information you must provide. You should aim for honesty while not revealing too much information that makes you feel exposed or uneasy. If you’re quitting on the spur of the moment due to a hostile work environment that’s affecting your physical or mental health. 

It’s a good idea to tell your bosses about this, or at the very least mention it in your exit interview. Perhaps they are oblivious to the unhealthy situation that has developed and can take steps to alleviate the pain points for the remaining employees. Who knows, perhaps the changes will persuade you to stay. Quitting a job without warning is difficult to navigate, but it can be done successfully if you are honest and apologize appropriately. It’s best to inform your boss or supervisor in person if at all possible. 

Meeting with your boss will give you the opportunity to provide context, but many employers will still require a formal resignation letter — or at the very least, a resignation email. We’ve included a sample letter below to help you get started.

No-Notice Resignation Letter Sample

Mr. [Manager], I am writing to express my heartfelt gratitude for all your efforts

Please accept this letter as formal notice that I am resigning from [your job title] with immediate effect. I appreciate the opportunity to [insert some of your positive job responsibilities] during my time at [company name].

I apologize for having to leave on such short notice, but I am confident in the success of the [name of your department]. Please email me at [your email address] if you or the team have any questions; I’m happy to help in any way I can.


[Your Given Name]

When Am I Allowed to Leave a Job without Giving Notice?

You, as an employer, must keep track of your employees’ turnover. Although no one wants to deal with a high turnover rate, it is impossible to prevent employees from leaving. As an employer, the most you can do is make your company a desirable place to work and provide incentives for employees to want to succeed and remain loyal to your company. Even if you provide incentives for your employees to stay with your company, they may leave without notice at any time. Worse, they may resign without warning. 

This can be extremely disruptive, whether they simply did not show up for work or resigned on the spot. There are, however, some instances where this is perfectly legal. So, let’s talk about when employees are allowed to resign without giving notice.

Conditions in Which You May Leave Without Notification

In the business world, resignations are common. However, it can be extremely inconvenient if your employee resigns without giving notice. You won’t have enough time to find a replacement or perform a proper handover, and much of their work may be incomplete. Employees who leave without notice do not break the law, but they do face repercussions. Many employees are aware of this and will give notice as needed. According to the general rule, you can withhold any money owed to an employee if they resign without giving notice. 

This is calculated based on what your employee would have made if you had given notice. You can also refuse to provide a reference letter or act as a referee if your employee requests it.

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1. Employee Responsibility

Employees must be aware that they are legally obligated to give their employers adequate notice. This means that employees must provide their employers with the minimum amount of notice required by the National Employment Standards of the Fair Work Ombudsman (NES). In essence, the NES applies to all employees covered by the national labor-management system. Be aware that NES may require an additional week’s notice if an employee is over 45 years old. In addition to the NES, the following documents contain the minimum period of notice:

  • An employee’s award
  • Employment contract
  • Enterprise agreement
  • Other registered agreement
  • A ‘Termination of Employment’ clause in a Modern Award

2. Employees who work from home

Employees who work on a part-time basis do not have to give notice. This is also true if you need to fire an employee. Casual employees, likewise, do not have the right to paid time off. As a result, you will not be obligated to pay your casual employee for any unused leave if they leave without notice.

3. Probationary employees

Probation is frequently imposed on full-time and part-time employees. Probation periods are usually three or six months long, and they allow both the employer and the employee to assess whether the employee is a good fit for the job. Notice periods are usually one week during probation periods. If your employee is still on probation, they only have to give you one week’s notice if they want to leave.

4. Contemporary Awards

The ‘Termination of Employment’ clause in a Modern Award, in general, explains how the notice period is calculated based on the employee’s length of service. If an employee has worked for a company for the following amount of time:

  • If you’re leaving in less than a year, you’ll need to give one week’s notice.
  • Between one and three years – A two-week notice period is required.
  • Approximately three to five years – At the very least, three weeks’ notice is required.
  • Five years or more – at the very least, four weeks

Use the FWO’s Notice and Redundancy Calculator to calculate notice and learn about the minimum notice requirements. However, depending on the provisions in the applicable industrial instrument, the length of notice required may vary. It is possible to use either a federal industrial instrument, a state industrial instrument, or a non-industrial instrument.

5. Employment Agreements

Termination clauses are common in employment contracts, and they specify how much notice is required. Many full-time positions have a four-week notice period. This, however, will vary based on the agreements reached between the employer and the employee.

How to Leave Without Giving Notice in a Professional Manner

If you find yourself in a situation where you must leave without giving two weeks’ notice, follow these steps to do so professionally and tactfully:

1. Be Aware of the Threats

Consider the risks and consequences of your decision before quitting your job without notice. If it is truly in your best interests, only leave abruptly. If you need future references from your current employer or work in a small, close-knit field, be aware that leaving without notice may end your professional relationship and result in a negative reference or reputation within that field. Your work may be redistributed to coworkers, affecting a large number of people who could have an impact on your career.

Consider your employment contract, as well as the social and professional consequences, before quitting. Some employment contracts include clauses requiring employees to forfeit certain benefits, such as unused vacation days if an employee leaves without notice. Examine any documents you signed when you were hired, especially if you are employed on a contract basis.

2. Be Clear in Your Expressions

Even if you are unable to give your employer two weeks’ notice, make every effort to communicate with them and inform them of your departure. Notify your boss of your departure date or if you will be unable to continue working. If possible, inform them in person, but a phone call, a note, or an email are all preferable to nothing. People who have a good relationship with their boss might want to tell them why they are leaving without notice. 

Notifying your boss that you will be unable to come to work due to a family or personal emergency may allow you to keep your professional relationship despite the unfortunate circumstances.

3. Be polite.

Use polite and professional language when informing your employer that you are leaving. Even if your boss doesn’t appreciate it, displaying grace and dignity can help your professional image. If you share the reason for your departure, avoid blaming anyone in particular and instead focus on the facts of the situation. It may be in your best interest to resign via written note to present a professional tone in a high-conflict situation where it may be difficult to remain polite and express gratitude.

4. Recognize the Situation

Recognize that notifying an employer of your intention to leave without notice is not ideal for them. If at all possible, volunteer to help with the transition of your responsibilities during your final hours or days on the job. Recognize your manager’s challenges and apologize for the inconvenience to start a positive relationship. This shows self-awareness and reminds the employer to think about your point of view and the circumstances surrounding your abrupt departure.

5. Make contact with the human resources department.

After you’ve quit your job, you’ll need to talk to a human resources representative to figure out how to get your final pay and any unpaid benefits. They may also set up an exit interview with you during which you can provide constructive feedback if any workplace conditions influenced your decision to leave. Provide them with up-to-date contact information so that they can send any documents or checks to the proper address.


Employees should generally notify their employer of their resignation and provide the shortest amount of notice possible. This not only ensures that employees are paid for working during this time and their leave entitlements, but it is also the proper way to conduct business. It’s never a good idea to part ways on bad terms with an employee because you might need to vouch for them in the future. Furthermore, professional industry circles are smaller than most people believe, so you’re likely to run into your former employee again. I hope you found this article on Is it illegal to quit a job without notice? to be helpful.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is My Salary Paid During My Leave of Absence?

You should be paid as usual if you work during your notice period. Any benefits to which you are entitled, such as pension contributions, are included.

Is it OK if I take a vacation during my notice period?

Finally, if you request it, it is up to your employer to decide whether you can take vacation time during your notice period. If they allow it, you are entitled to your regular pay. You will be reimbursed for any unused vacation time when you leave. Your employer may require any unused vacation time. It’s good to look over your employment contract for details on unused vacation days. You can find more information about employers dictating vacations here.

Is Working Somewhere Else Possible During My Notice Period?

It’s also possible that you’ve broken your contract. Your employer may take legal action against you if you leave your job to work somewhere else during your notice period. If your employer can prove you left to work for a competitor or if they believe you are endangering their business interests by potentially disclosing confidential and sensitive information, they may seek an injunction.

What can my boss do if I don’t show up for work during my notice period?

Your boss can’t stop you from leaving the building, so if you packed your belongings, walked out the door, and never came back, there’s no way you’d be physically stopped. You will, however, most likely be in breach of your contract if you leave without giving the required notice period. This means that your boss has the legal authority to bring a lawsuit against you.

What Can An Attorney Do To Assist?

The consequences of failing to serve your notice period are highly dependent on your circumstances. If you’re thinking about doing something like this, you should seek legal and strategic advice. Employment lawyers are well-trained professionals with the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience to handle your case. A good lawyer will work with you every step of the way if you’re facing legal action from your employer for failing to work your notice period. We’ll do everything we can to help you get the result you want.

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