Do I need to pay?


If an employee gives a two-week notice to leave the company, can you legally cut pay from the employee who is willing to work through their notice?  

01I’ve had reasons for wanting to dismiss an employee right after receiving their notice. Based on the employee’s position and their duties/responsibilities it might be in your best interest to part ways right away.  Do you know what you are legally required to pay? In general, you are legally required to pay for all time worked by an individual. If the employee departing is exempt, it would be wise to pay him/her for the entire week if he/she worked for part of the week in which they gave you notice. Employers are not legally required to pay anyone for their notice period if they want to release them immediately for any reason.

There are pros and cons of keeping the employee around their last two (2) weeks of work. Situations will differ, but you may find that keeping an employee around could do more harm than good for the Company and employees. Employers can write separation policies how they want, but you may want to take a longer-term view of the advantages of paying an employee who resigns and offers you a two (2) week working notice.

02For example, you could offer to pay the employee their accrued and un-used PTO if they provide and honor their two (2) week notice, and they agree to train whoever will be doing the departing employee’s work. This exchange typically works well for those who want to part their business relationship on good terms.


Your reputation as an employer will be showcased and can be damaged if you treat departing employees in an unreasonable fashion. Think through how you want to handle this potentially negative matter and strategize what will really be the best practice for you and your business. Less commotion and stress on your existing staff who are left to do the work can carry success a long way.

In summary, you should have a policy that explains how you handle terminations while specifying what you expect from the departing employee including; how you handle pay for unused and accrued PTO, return of company property/equipment, non-solicitation, confidentiality and so forth. Treat all employees as humanly as possible. You never know when your paths will cross again. If you have questions regarding Human Resources, please contact: Susan Arnold at 515-401-2233.


Susan Arnold
HR On-Call, LLC
p. 515.401.2233


A little more about us:
Susan Arnold, owner and lead HR Consultant at HR On-Call, LLC. Susan has 20+ years of HR experience and provides a HR presence to business organizations without the overhead expense of a full-time employee. Susan helps business owners improve employer/employee relationships and allows them to focus on their business while resting assured that they are in full compliance with state and federal law.

Areas of expertise:

  • Reduce Employer Risk and Liability
  • Customized Employee Handbooks
  • Performance Reviews
  • Improve Employee/Employer Relationships
  • Background Checks
  • Personality Assessments
  • Guaranteed EEO Compliance
  • Employee Retention
  • Recruitment / Hiring
  • Employee Discipline/Discharge

Susan is passionate about her customers and listens to their needs. If you are interested in any of the details above or would like more information about her services, please contact Susan!

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