Standard Two-week Notice by U.S. Workers among Shortest Globally

February 4, 2008 ( - A new Mercer survey of resignation notice periods furnished to an employer by a departing employee found that the customary two weeks in the U.S. is among the shortest of any country.

A Mercer news release said the U.S. workers joined those in Mexico, Hong Kong, Ireland, Singapore, and the UK with the shortest statutory notice period when resigning.Mercer noted that American workers and those in Mexico are not legally required to furnish such advance notice.

However, workers in Hong Kong, Ireland, Singapore, and the UK who have at least a year’s service have to give a least a week. Workers in Switzerland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic are required to give at least two months notice.

Mercer found the majority of countries mandate a four-week notice. In one in three countries, notice periods vary according to an employee’s length of service, and individual contracts of employment may specify a longer period.

In general, the same statutory notice periods apply to employers, except in a number of countries where employers must give longer notice before terminating an employee.

For employees with one year of service, longer notice is required in Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, and the Ukraine. In the UK, employees can give only one week’s notice where statutory requirements apply, while employers must give a week’s notice for every complete year of service, up to a maximum of 12 weeks.

The data, from Mercer’s Global HR Factbook, outlines the minimum legal requirements for notice periods for employees across 43 countries. The publication can be ordered at , or by calling 800 333 3070.