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I live in New Jersey (an at will state in the U.S.) and I am currently furloughed.

There may be a job offer underway and I was wondering if I would have to give current employer a two week notice.

I have not heard from my employer with updates on current job.

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  • 1
    I'm inclined to agree with the recent answer to this question at Ask A Manager (number 4).
    – BSMP
    May 18, 2020 at 4:03
  • You never have to give 2 week notice. It is a courtesy (and a good idea)
    – JohnFx
    May 25, 2020 at 22:11

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I have been in a similar situation in the past. The contract in Virginia was coming to an end. The company gave us two weeks notice, and then after that point they would only pay for insurance for a month. After that we were terminated.

I had a coworker that found a new job during the two weeks notice, the let him go the same day he told them. Now he had an almost two week insurance gap. I found a job that would start a few days into the insurance only month, I told them the day before I was to start the new job. My insurance gap was less than a day.

So if you are going to give notice realize that they might let you go sooner than you plan. Balance this with any benefits or pay you could be sacrificing.

If they are giving you partial pay, then they could want you to work for the two weeks. But if you aren't getting any paid hours they are unlikely to bring you in. In my case there was no need to bring us in because they collected the laptop, badge, and office keys on our last paid day. I expect these actions are normal from a security standpoint.

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You'd need to check your contract and your state law, you might be able to leave without notice.

Normally that is considered somewhere between rude and unprofessional, but in the current circumstances your old company might not mind at all. If you are furloughed you can't do any work during a 14 day notice period, so there is no reason to hold you back.

I'd say talk to the new company. Tell them that you can start at date X if you have to give 14 days notice, and ask if you could start earlier if you manage to leave without notice.

Once that is sorted and you have an offer, you can go to the old company and say ”I would like to leave. I can give 14 days notice, but I’d rather leave earlier if that is possible at all.” Just leaving without telling anyone is obviously bad. And you’d want to give enough notice that all the paperwork can be done. Let’s say first thing in the morning of the last day, or better the day before. Be prepared that they say “You can leave now, but you need to come in in five days to sign everything”.

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  • Re state law: OP is in New Jersey, and like every US state, NJ has at-will employment. Notice is not legally required for the vast majority of employees, regardless of who is terminating the relationship (employer or employee). It's possible that OP's contract overrides this, but that's not typical in the US outside of unionized jobs. Obviously, professionalism concerns are still relevant.
    – Kevin
    Jun 19, 2020 at 19:11
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Is it necessary to give notice while furloughed?

No. You are not working and you are not getting paid. In fact, while on Furlough you are not allowed to do ANYTHING for your employer, so any notice period would be completely pointless.

This being said, you can still be nice and professional about it. Hand in your notice and ask for any notice period to be waived. There is a 99% chance that the company will simply agree.

There is rarely a hard legal requirement for a notice period in the first place, so this is mostly about being professional and perception. I'd be extremely surprised if any future employer would take issue with not serving notice on Furlough.

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  • I agree, in my previous employer in USA furloughed was equal to let go, just some intentionally pretty words to have the company appear better in the local press.
    – Ge Peace
    May 20, 2020 at 14:59

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