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I hope this fits on topic - I don't think it's workplace specific or too legal...

I am planning to resign from my current position at the end of the year. My employer has a decent 401(k) match (9% of salary) but it is only given to me at the end of the year with the requirement that I am employed on the last day of the year. It so happens that the first day of my new position will be Monday, Jan 1, 2018.

I am trying to figure out how to properly word my resignation letter to keep myself compliant with company policy without needing to push back my start date. I was planning on stating that my resignation will take effect as of 12:01am on 1/1/18 but since I work 8-5 M-F I'm concerned that HR will record my final working day as Friday 12/29. I am contractually required to provide two weeks notice, but they have the option of ending my contract early and paying out my remaining salary, which I expect would set my final employment date as the day they take that option.

I asked my 401(k) plan administrator (a 3rd party company) how they verify employment and was told that my employer submits the information to them. It doesn't seem reasonable to ask my employer about this since it's in their best interest to get to keep the money and setting my final date to Monday 1/1 doesn't really do much for them.

Is there a decent way to exercise control of my final date of employment without simply pushing back my start date and ensuring that I work as an employee of my current firm on 1/1?

  • You should look over you contract and talk with your manager and HR. See whether benefits such as your 401(k) match are included in "salary" for the purposes of what they have to pay out if they end your contract early. – Acccumulation Nov 5 '17 at 21:55
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    It seems like they can do whatever they want in this situation, especially since you say they can just end your employment early. The only option that guarantees you get the match (assuming they want to be jerks about it) would be to hand in your notice on or after the 1st. – Dukeling Nov 5 '17 at 21:59
  • Unfortunately, your employer could just decide to "let" you quit on the day you resign - particularly in an at-will jurisdiction - especially if they know they will have to pay a bonus otherwise. Also, there may be a loophole regarding notice periods negating qualification for bonuses. Finally, there may also be a clause regarding taking leave days during notice periods (as suggested below). All you can do is submit your resignation and hope for the best. Good luck – HorusKol Nov 5 '17 at 23:24
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    Further to @HorusKol's comment, there may also be limitations on benefits for weekend and holiday days unless you are employed by them on both the last working day before and the first working day after the day in question. – Patricia Shanahan Nov 5 '17 at 23:40
  • "I'm concerned that HR will record my final working day as Friday 12/29" - If you say you want to resign as of 0:01 on 1/1/2018 then of course your final working day is 12/29. If you want to work through your shift on the 1st of January, say that you want your resignation effective at the end of your working day 1/1/2018. – Brandin Nov 6 '17 at 16:12
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IF you don't resign until after the match is made, the chances that you will get the match are low unless you sue them for it. I would put in my resignation on Jan 2. Because they may not accept a Jan 1 last day and let you go effective immediately.

What I would do it talk to my new employer, explain how much money you could potentially lose if you put in a resignation mow and see if they want you enough to make up the difference or if they are willing to wait for you to put in Notice in 2018. If they don't agree to one or the other, then you need to weigh whether this job is worth more than the money you may not get.

Next time think about this sort of thing before you look for new work. It would have been smarter to wait until the new year at this point to look. Same thing with expected bonuses, wait til you get them to resign. These payments are to encourage employee retention, it defeats the purpose for the company and they often will not pay out if you quit at the wrong time. Certainly, most companies I know of would release you in early Dec anyway as that is often a slow period and it doesn't make economic sense to the finance guys to pay you a match when you aren't going to stay.

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At this point the person to ask would be the benefits administrator(s) in your corporate HR. They would be the only one(s) who can provide the answer to that question.

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    And then immediately report that you're looking to leave, leading to your termination on 29-Dec-17. All that work and no bonus at all. Asking HR is a risk that they don't need to take. – user53718 Nov 7 '17 at 5:33
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Can you take a vacation day? If so, tell your company you are working until 1/1 and take that day as holiday. Also note that 1/1 (New Year's Day) may be a bank holiday wherever you live.

Anyway, I don't understand why you want to be an employee in your current company on 1/1. You say: "it is only given to me at the end of the year with the requirement that I am employed on the last day of the year." That last day is December 31st.

I don't know in your country, but in mine, you can resign a Sunday even if you work M-F, since legally weekends are paid days. You could write something like: "My last day working in this company will be Sunday, December 31st."

As for the chance that they might terminate your contract early, I'm afraid there is not much you can do, but telling the company that you commit yourself to training your colleagues about your current job; that way, they may want to keep you for those two weeks before you leave. Depending on your country and laws, you might have a chance in court, but you would only win that 9% of your salary, so it won't be worth the effort.

  • "Anyway, I don't understand why you want to be an employee in your current company on 1/1. You say: "it is only given to me at the end of the year with the requirement that I am employed on the last day of the year." That last day is December 31st." I think this was rather clear from the question: Dec 31 is a Sunday. Therefore, OP will not be working that day, and is worried that it will not be considered final day of employment. – Acccumulation Nov 5 '17 at 21:53
  • Oh, OK then, thanks. Then the part of taking 1/1 as a vacation day and the part of writing in the resignation letter "My last day working in this company will be Sunday, December 31st" still apply. – jc-engineer Nov 5 '17 at 21:57
  • And them they let you go early because they can just do that and bust your plans. – T. Sar - Reinstate Monica Nov 6 '17 at 11:44
  • If you resign effective Dec 31, then a legal case can be made that you did not stay until the end of teh year as you haven;t stayed until it is no longer Dec 31. – HLGEM Nov 6 '17 at 16:35
  • @HLGEM That's true of course, but I suggested "My last day working in this company will be Sunday, December 31st.". So OP would be working Dec 31 and the resignation is effective Jan 1. – jc-engineer Nov 6 '17 at 19:23

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