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Location is Ontario / Canada.. I am a full time employee - not a consultant or a contractor.

Legal notice time is 2 weeks. If I know that I will be leaving in 4 weeks, is there any reason (or any potential disadvantages) for me to give my notice now or should I wait until only 2 weeks actually remain? Can a company for example force me to leave earlier, if I give my notice 4 weeks before instead of 2? Or maybe anything else I cannot think of? Can they make me work on unrelated tasks I would not normally be doing, just because I am leaving for example?

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This depends on what kind of relationship you have with your manager. If you have a good, friendly relationship with your manager, you may want to give your manager a heads up that you're going to be leaving so he doesn't put you on any big projects or whatnot for the next little while. If you do not have a great relationship (if your relationship can be described as anything other than "great"), you shouldn't say anything, because your manager might go to HR and find a way to fire you before you have time to quit, which, as @myxzptlk said, could turn out bad for you (and yes, Ontario is not "at-will" like the US is, but functionally it is; if a company wants to fire you, they'll make up some BS reason to fire you that is wishy-washy to the point of being impossible to disprove in court).

In general, there is nothing wrong with giving only the notice required. Giving more notice may be useful to your direct manager (and ONLY to your direct manager, absolutely do not bring it up with anyone else), but is not required in any way.

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  • Depending on your time served, in Ontario a company is obliged to give "pay in lieu of notice" if they fire you without cause, and so firing you in order to avoid paying wages is almost certain to be counterproductive for anyone with more than a year or so service. Jun 3 at 16:05
  • @DJClayworth ontario.ca/document/your-guide-employment-standards-act-0/… OP is not entitled to severance unless he has worked for his employer for at least 5 years.
    – Ertai87
    Jun 3 at 17:50
  • Severance pay is only one part of the compensation an employer owes for termination. Believe me, I know. Jun 3 at 18:04
  • OP would be entitled to pay in lieu of notice, but since the notice period is 2 weeks and the OP is giving 4 weeks notice, the company would still "profit" by 2 weeks of pay if they fired OP on the spot.
    – Ertai87
    Jun 4 at 15:00
  • Whatever your internet searches are telling you, I assure you that the compensation for letting someone go with less than five years service is more than the notice period. Jun 4 at 15:02
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Never give more than contractual notice.

Yes, they have all kinds of options, from immediately letting you go in any way your contract and the law allows to having you work on anything your contract and law allows, and generally have very little incentive to make your remaining time beneficial to you in any way.

Legal protections and severance and stuff may be there to protect you - or they may not be, companies sometimes go to great lengths to take actions in their best interest and it's hard to fight; avoid any fight by giving proper notice but not more than proper notice.

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    If they let me immediately go, do not I get severance package? Jun 3 at 15:08
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    Note the OP is from Canada which is generally not At-Will. Jun 3 at 15:08
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    @KorayTugay, I imagine they won't fire you, but they may send you on a gardening leave with 2 weeks pay, so you'll be unemployed for 2 more weeks before you start at your new place.
    – Egor
    Jun 3 at 15:28
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    "Never" is too strong. While it's often the correct answer, I have seen plenty of cases where advance notice was given and turned out to work great for all parties involved. Not all employers are vindictive idiots.
    – Hilmar
    Jun 3 at 16:12
  • @KorayTugay Yes you do get a severance package, unless you have been there less than a year (or certain other unusual circumstances). It depends on your time served and some other factors. Jun 3 at 17:00

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