When an employee gives you a resignation notice, it will generally list the employee's last day of work. After giving notice, an employee may wish to change that date for some reason, such as difficulty finding new employment or the need to extend benefits. In some instances, you may be required to accept a change in the resignation date. No federal laws exist regarding resignation procedures. Instead, laws are on a state-by-state basis.
If the employee is covered by a formal employment contract or collective bargaining agreement, the resignation date generally cannot be changed. In this situation, both sides have agreed to the terms of the agreement. However, if a new agreement is signed by both parties regarding the change, you may allow the change -- but you are not obligated to do so. An employment attorney can be consulted if you are unclear on the legal specifics in your state.
No Employment Contract
With no employment contract, management makes the final decision on whether or not to allow an employee to change his resignation date. The employer is under no obligation to accept a change. If the employee requests an earlier or later date and you can accommodate this, you are free to allow the change. However, if the change would adversely affect your operations -- if you've already hired a replacement, for instance -- you do not have to approve the date change. If your company has a policy that allows changes within a specific period after the initial notification, you are required to accept the change if it comes within that period.
Generally, employees give two weeks' notice when they resign. An employee who wants to change the resignation date to a date further out may present a problem. When an employee resigns, she is eligible to file for unemployment benefits. In some states, such as Texas, the legal burden of proof is on the employee when the notice is two weeks or less. However, the opposite it true if the resignation period is greater than two weeks. In addition, an employee may request a date change in the hopes of extending benefits, such as health insurance. Granting such a request will result in the company spending more on benefits for this departing employee.
Accepting a change in the resignation date may offer you more time to look for a replacement or more time to train a one. Another advantage occurs if the new resignation date coincides with the end of a pay period, which would make the process easier for the payroll department.