I gave 30 days’ notice; my boss wants that to be 30 work days. Who is right?

Question: I recently gave my 30-day notice, thinking that my last day would be 30 days from the date I gave the notice. Today my supervisor told me she thinks 30 days should be 30 work days, which extends my last day out by over a week. How should 30 days be counted?

Omaha, Nebraska

Answer: With three possible exceptions, you are the one to decide what 30 days means.

Giving notice to your employer is a courtesy. In fact, most employers these days don’t give that courtesy to their employees. The fact that you did give notice is commendable, and the fact that you gave 30 days’ notice is downright admirable. Really, you should understand that your offer of 30 days – calendar days or work days – is the right thing to do.

There are three possible exceptions to my statement that you are the one to decide what 30 days means:

First, if you previously agreed, in writing or in conversation, to give your employer 30 “working” days notice of your leaving, then you should honor that obligation.

Second, many employers we have dealt with have policies that say something like this: if you resign, and don’t give at least a certain amount of notice, you either forfeit unvested stock options, or will be denied other earned benefits. (These are often called “clawbacks.”)

Third, if you want to get a good reference from your employer, and staying another week or so won’t pose a problem for you, you might agree to the 30 “working” day notice. I might suggest that you say, “In return, would you please give me a good reference letter for when I seek a job in the future.”

If none of these three exceptions applies to your situation, “You are the boss.” Hope that helps, “Boss.” Come back soon.

Best, Al Sklover

© 2009 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.

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