Notice Of Resignation - The Truth

"I've just received my tax and health insurance bills. I need more money and I've found a job paying more. I signed a one-year contract, but I'm only six months into it.  How much notice do I have to give my company before I can quit?"

"The company lied to me about a lot of things in my job interview. They are paying me less money in the summer. I only get 5 days holidays. I'm really unhappy. I want to quit."

"There's no support here. I'm not adjusting to life in Japan. It's time to go home. They want to fine me for not finishing my contract."

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HOW MUCH NOTICE DO YOU HAVE TO GIVE YOUR COMPANY BEFORE YOU RESIGN?

In their contracts, many companies dishonestly claim that an employee "may terminate this contract by giving thirty (30) calendar days' prior notice to Employer".

This isn't true.

Under the OFFER TO TERMINATE EMPLOYMENT WITH INDEFINITE TERM section of the CIVIL CODE, ARTICLE 627 states:

(1) If the parties have not specified the term of employment, either party may request to terminate at any time. In such cases, employment shall terminate on the expiration of two weeks from the day of the request to terminate."


The key terminology here is the "WITH INDEFINITE TERM" section title.

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APPLYING THE LAW

During the first contract with an employer, an employee can avoid problems by resigning in adherance to the conditions agreed upon when the contract was made (providing such conditions are legal).

In such a case, a 30 or even 60 day notice of resignation requirement would be valid for that first year. 

If you don't give the required notice, your company could (in theory) sue you for damages, but can only act on this by using civil court procedures. 

However, from the second contract with a company and onwards, just two weeks of notice is sufficient regardless of what the contract may say.

(This is due to a conflict between labor contract law and the Civil Code.)

In addition, an employee does not have to provide a reason for their resignation, even if an employer cites it as a requirement.

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TALKING WITH YOUR COMPANY

Let's pretend that, armed with the knowledge from this article, you decide that you want to leave your current job.

You know that the Civil Code is clear about this, and you are in on your second contract (and, therefore, second year of employment) with your company.

You walk into the branch office and give the branch staff two weeks of notice (in writing).

The branch manager tells you that you have to give them thirty days of notice.

You tell them that the Civil Code states that you only have to give them two weeks of notice.

The branch manager says that the contract that you signed states that you have to give them thirty days of notice.

You reiterate the the law says that you only have to give them two weeks of notice.

The manager repeats that the contract says "thirty days", so they will not accept your notice of resignation

What do you do?

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LET THE GENERAL UNION HELP

If you feel like this is a situation that could happen to you, contact (or - better yet - actually join) the General Union for further advice. 

If your company decides to double-down on claiming that the contract is more powerful than the law (or you expect that that's the attitude they will take with you), or if your company is demanding that you give them a valid reason before they'll accept your notice of resignation (some actually do refuse to acknowlede it), we might be able to help.

Finally, if your company threatens with you a penalty fee for "early termination" of your contract, know that such penalties are completely illegal. 

It is better to try and stop it before it happens rather than try to get the money back after the fact.

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Note: for more information, please also see "How To Resign (With Template Letter)".


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