Giving One Week Notice Instead of Two

June 5, 2024 0 Comments

Are you aware that in 2022, approximately 50.5 million individuals quit their jobs, surpassing the 47.8 million who quit in 2021, as revealed by data from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey?

Do they send notice before leaving? Most of them, Yes!

If you have to leave urgently, consider giving at least one week’s notice if not two. It is far better than not giving any notice at all.

But is it legal?

The good news is giving one week’s notice is possible and not illegal, as most employment is at-will. Two weeks’ notice is still the standard professional courtesy expected by most employers.

Still confused if you should go ahead and submit the notice? How should you hand over the notice?

Keep reading, we have thoroughly answered all of your questions and provided a comprehensive guide with ready-to-use email templates for giving one week’s notice. 

Is it okay to give one week’s notice instead of two?

Yes, you can give one week’s notice instead of two, but it depends on several factors such as your employment contract, company policies, and the reason for your shorter notice period. It’s essential to consider these aspects before proceeding.

“If your employer or manager has helped you grow as a professional at the company, remember to show your appreciation before parting ways. Try something like this to express your gratitude during your one-on-one conversation with them”, says Lora B. Poepping, president of Plum Coaching & HR Consulting [2].

Circumstances where one week’s notice may be acceptable include:

  • You’re leaving a job with a short contract 
  • You’re in a difficult personal situation and need to leave sooner
  • Your employer has treated you unprofessionally or unethically

Circumstances to avoid giving one week’s notice:

  • You’re leaving a hard-to-fill position that will be difficult to replace 
  • You want to maintain positive professional relationships and a good reputation
  • You may want to work for the company again in the future

Reasons acceptable for one week’s notice instead of two?

Giving one week’s notice may be seen as unprofessional by some managers and could potentially burn bridges, making it harder to get good references or be rehired. Some managers understand personal situations and may be fine with one week’s notice.

Here are the reasons that may be found acceptable if giving one week’s notice:

  1. Employment Contract: Review your contract to see if it specifies the notice period. Some contracts may allow flexibility.
  2. At-Will Employment: In many at-will employment states, you are not legally required to give any notice, though two weeks is customary.
  3. Urgent Personal Reasons: Situations like health issues, family emergencies, or urgent relocations may necessitate a shorter notice.
  4. New Job Start Date: If your new employer requires you to start immediately, this might justify a shorter notice.
  5. Toxic Work Environment: If the work environment is harmful or abusive, giving a shorter notice period might be necessary for your well-being.

How to give one week’s notice

Ready to give one week’s notice? Here comes the most difficult step- How to do it! We have prepared a step-by-step guide to walk you through this stressful procedure. 

Step 1. Review Your Contract. Ensure there are no legal or contractual obligations that could be breached.

Step 2. Prepare Your Reason. Be ready to explain why you are giving less notice.

Step 3. Plan Your Transition: Offer to help with the transition process to minimize disruption.

Step 3. Write a Resignation Letter: Clearly state your intention to leave and your last working day.

Step 4. Inform Your Supervisor: Have a face-to-face conversation or a video call if in-person is not possible.

Step 4. Submit Your Letter: Follow up the conversation with a formal resignation email.

Email templates for one week notice

One week’s notice for personal reasons

Subject: Resignation Notice – [Your Name]

Dear [Manager's Name],

I am writing to formally resign from my position at [Company Name], effective one week from today. My last working day will be [Last Working Day].

Due to unforeseen personal reasons, I am unable to provide the standard two weeks' notice. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and am committed to making this transition as smooth as possible. I will ensure that my responsibilities are adequately handed over during this period.

Thank you for the opportunity to work with [Company Name]. I appreciate your understanding and support.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

One week’s notice for new job requirement

Subject: Resignation Notice – [Your Name]

Dear [Manager's Name],

Please accept this letter as formal notice of my resignation from [Company Name], effective one week from today. My last working day will be [Last Working Day].

I have accepted a new position that requires me to start sooner than anticipated. I regret any inconvenience this may cause and will do my best to assist in the transition process.

Thank you for the opportunity to be part of the team. I have enjoyed working here and appreciate the experiences I have gained.

[Your Name]

Pros and cons of one week’s notice

Can giving one week’s notice instead of two have repercussions? Let’s find out!

Here are the possible pros and cons of giving one week’s notice instead of two.


  • Quicker relief from a toxic or unsuitable job.
  • Allows you to start a new job sooner.
  • Addresses urgent personal matters swiftly.


  • May harm your professional reputation for not providing adequate notice.
  • Potentially damages relationships with your current employer.
  • Possible breach of contract or legal repercussions.

Ultimately, while two weeks is the standard, you are not legally obligated to give any notice in most cases. It’s best to give as much notice as you reasonably can to maintain professionalism and avoid damaging relationships.

Expert tip:

When giving one week’s notice, be polite, offer to help transition your work, and explain the circumstances if you can. Avoid burning bridges if you may need the company as a reference.


Is it illegal to give less than two weeks’ notice?

Generally, it is not illegal to give less than two weeks’ notice. However, it depends on your employment contract and local labor laws. Some contracts may specify a required notice period, and failing to comply could breach the terms of your contract, potentially leading to consequences such as loss of certain benefits or even legal action. 

It’s important to review your contract and understand the legal requirements in your area.

Will I get paid if I give one week’s notice?

You should be paid for the time you worked, including the one week of notice, as long as you have fulfilled your job duties during that period. However, it’s essential to check your employment contract for any specific terms regarding notice periods and final pay. 

Some employers may have policies that affect your final paycheck if proper notice isn’t given, such as withholding certain benefits or bonuses.

Can my employer refuse my resignation?

Typically, no. Resignations are generally considered a unilateral decision made by the employee, meaning you have the right to resign whenever you choose. 

However, in rare cases, if you are under a contract that specifies terms around resignation, there might be conditions or required notice periods that need to be adhered to. Generally, employers must accept resignations but can negotiate the terms of your departure.

Will it affect my future references?

Leaving without adequate notice could affect your future references, depending on your employer’s reaction and the manner in which you leave. If you leave on good terms and communicate your reasons professionally, your employer might still provide a positive reference. 

However, leaving abruptly or on bad terms can lead to a negative reference, which could impact your future job prospects. It’s always best to handle resignations professionally to maintain a positive relationship.


Giving one week’s notice instead of two is sometimes necessary and acceptable, but it’s essential to handle it professionally and consider the potential impacts on your career and relationships. Always check your employment contract and try to communicate openly with your employer.


  1. CNBC. Why 2022 was the ‘real year’ of the Great Resignation
  2. US News. How Much Notice Should You Give When You Resign?