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In Canada, is there a federal law of how much notice period an employer can demand? I thought the standard was 2 weeks, but then re-reading the fine print in the offer letter, I see it says : You agree to provide XXX with 4 weeks of notice.

It does not say what happens if you give only 2 weeks.

So if new employer is not willing to wait 4 weeks but will wait only 2 weeks, what are my options? And consequences? Is there a chance of loss of pay?

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2  
Is it symmetrical? Ie, does your employer also have to give 4 weeks notice? If the employer's notice period is shorter, I wouldn't sign it for that reason alone. –  Timo Geusch Apr 12 '11 at 17:42
    
It says 'Employer will give notice according to 'Employment Std Acts ONtario'. So I guess non symmetrical –  Victor123 Apr 12 '11 at 17:53
    
How does this relate to personal finance? –  George Marian Apr 12 '11 at 18:13
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@George:Loss of pay.. –  Victor123 Apr 12 '11 at 18:22
    
Ok, fair enough. –  George Marian Apr 13 '11 at 1:43

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

It's provincial jurisdiction, so it can vary by province. In Manitoba, it's different when an employee quits vs. being terminated:

Quiting:

  • Employed at least thirty days but less than one year: one week
  • Employed at least one year: two weeks

Being terminated:

  • Employed at least thirty days but less than one year: one week
  • Employed at least one year and less than three years: two weeks
  • Employed at least three years and less than five years: four weeks
  • Employed at least five years and less than ten years: six weeks
  • Employed at least ten years: eight weeks

Edit:

At least in Manitoba, according to the above link, an employer can't set different notice periods.

Effective April 30, 2007, employers cannot have alternate notice policies. A notice policy set under the previous legislation is not valid. The only exclusion is a unionized workplace, where a collective agreement has a probationary period that is one year or less.

Ontario, on the other hand doesn't have anything legislated about resignation notice except under a couple very specific circumstances. This leaves it open for contracts to put in place their own requirements. In this case, you can be sued for provable losses (minus the savings from not having to pay you.)

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Okay, so what is the consequence? –  MrChrister Apr 12 '11 at 18:55
    
It depends on your contract. Lacking a contract, it depends on your local labor laws. Generally, the two-week notice lets you burn off your accrued leave in most cases. Other employers kick you out once you provide notice and absorb the last paycheck. If you want a 100% answer, call your local Labor Department. –  duffbeer703 Apr 13 '11 at 12:17
    
The questioner says his offer letter specified "four weeks notice". That's pretty much a contract. –  DJClayworth Apr 14 '11 at 15:31

It depends on your employer.

They may not care to pursue matters if you don't give enough notice. They might be happy to see you go. Or they might be really sad to see you go, but not feel like they need to punish you. Or they might be really angry to see you go, and decide that they want to punish you to the full extent of the law just out of spite.

Essentially, we can't tell you that, because different employers will behave differently.

My advice? Be a mensch. Give the old employer as much notice as humanly possible so that they can find, hire, and train your replacement. Leave on as good terms as possible. Don't burn bridges. Chances are your new job can wait for another week or two.

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How can they punish me when the consequences of not giving 4 weeks are not mentioned explicitly in the clause? It says 'You are required to give 4 weeks' but not 'You need to give 10k if you do not give 4 weeks' –  Victor123 Apr 12 '11 at 23:01
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Dude, why don't you just ask them? Why would you ask us? We don't know what's in their heads. But to answer your question: you can be sued for breech of contract if you contract to do something and fail to live up to it. Among other things they can sue for damages caused by your failure to live up to the contract. Chances are, they are not going to do this, but who knows, maybe they are very venal people. I don't know them. –  Joel Spolsky Apr 12 '11 at 23:09
    
I just wanted to know my odds before the final showodown:) –  Victor123 Apr 12 '11 at 23:12
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That's like saying, two chickens are going to fight. Which one will win? I dunno. Just be a good guy and behave honorably and life will pay you back. –  Joel Spolsky Apr 12 '11 at 23:15
    
The better chicken, of course. –  JoeTaxpayer Jun 13 '11 at 2:28

When I was pursuing my Business Degree in Canada we were told the standard notice period is 2 weeks on both sides.

This means your employer is required to give you at least two weeks notice and you are required to give it as well. If you violate your notice requirement the employer can sue you for lost revenues and etc. for that time period. The converse side is if your employer failed to provide you with sufficient notice you could sue for lost wages for that time frame as well.

I'm sure you can contractually agree to more than the legal minimum of two weeks.

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The ques is if I say I am leaving in 2 weeks, can the employer sue me for damages? But I nvere signed a contract saying if i vioalte the agreement, this is what I pay –  Victor123 Apr 12 '11 at 19:01
    
If you have not signed an agreement for a longer term then they can't fire you for adhering to the legal min. –  Frazell Thomas Apr 12 '11 at 21:16
    
The fine print on his offer letter detailed a minimum 4 week notice period. If he accepted the offer, then he was under a contract to provide 4 weeks notice. He's saying he never signed something that detailed damages if he doesn't adhere to the 4 week notice period condition. But I don't think damages need to be spelled out. Damages would be whatever the impact of his leaving early had on the business. –  Chris W. Rea Apr 13 '11 at 23:09
    
@Chris That was what I thought and I agree. Thanks. –  Frazell Thomas Apr 14 '11 at 1:07

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