Q&A: When to tell your boss that you're leaving


I plan on leaving my job as an associate. How much notice should I give?

It depends on the state you work in and whether you're under an employment contract, says Dr. Karl Salzsieder, JD, of Salzsieder Consulting and Legal Services in Longview, Wash. In most states, workers without specific contract terms are "at will" employees. This means that an employee can legally quit his or her job without notice and that the employer can terminate the employee without cause and without notice.

Dr. Karl Salzsieder

But the question of when an associate veterinarian should give notice isn't quite that simple, Dr. Salzsieder says. Most likely, you've signed an associate employment agreement that specifies how much notice you're required to give. It may also require that you pay a penalty to your employer if you don't give two to four weeks' notice. If the agreement doesn't give specifics, then it's common custom to give at least two weeks' notice. Four weeks is considered especially courteous.

Your state's law may also specify minimum standards of notice, because in most states, associate veterinarians are exempt employees, meaning they don't qualify for overtime pay when working more than 40 hours per week. Some state laws that provide for exemption may also provide guidelines for notice when quitting.

Bottom line? Check for any contract provisions and state laws that may apply to your situation state before terminating your employment.

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