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Can an employee quit before their contract ends?

The majority of employees in the United States are at-will employees. As a business owner, if you hire employees under at-will employment laws, you need to know that they can quit whenever they want. They don’t have to give you two weeks’ notice. They don’t even have to give you two minutes of notice. An employee could simply stop coming to work and that would not be illegal.

To prevent this and create more stability, some employers will use contracts. If you have hired someone under an employment contract, are they allowed to quit before it ends? Or are they compelled to work for you until that contract is up?

Employees can always quit

Employees can’t be forced to work when they don’t want to. They always have the option to quit. Even if they have a contract, they can still leave the job.

That said, the contract can stipulate how this has to happen. For instance, maybe the employee agreed to give a month of advance notice before leaving the job. They still have to do so or they are in violation of that contract.

There could also be other ramifications. For instance, perhaps the employee was paid a certain amount of money upfront. Can your business reclaim some of those wages if the employee leaves before the contract expires?

Using employment contracts

These are just a few things to think about if you’re interested in using employment contracts. It’s very important to know exactly how they work, what obligations they create, and the advantages of using them. At the same time, if you’re setting up these contracts or if you find yourself involved in a dispute, it’s important to understand all of your legal options.