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Out of curiosity, I read some of the threads here and what really suprised me were the discussions about the notice periods of only one or two weeks. I'm from germany and so far, I always had notice periods of at least two or three months and I found it completely normal and also reasonable. I just founded a tech company and if my employees could leave with just two weeks notice, It would be very hard to build a new product (development time of our current machine is about 2 years).

What is the average duration in contracts? How do companies deal with the loss of personal experience? How much time is invested in documentation?

I hope this question is not too much opinion based, I just want to understand the american way of thinking in this area a bit better.

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    I'm also voting to close. An inventory of rules might have some use, but for it to be really useful, it would have to address the legislation issues for each country - which makes it off topic (legal issues), and maybe even too broad. – user8036 Dec 16 '14 at 8:26
  • I really don't understand why this question is on hold. The question is about regulations and methods based on countries and not for a specific company. Is is also no legal advice because no legal question was asked. Could someone explain why the quoted reasons apply here? – user30493 Dec 16 '14 at 11:53
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    There are multiple questions in your question. You may have better luck if you ask just one. For instance, perhaps along the lines of "Notice periods in the US are only two weeks. Coming from Germany, this appears very short in order to transfer skills & knowledge. If one of my key employees left on two weeks' notice, I would not be able to find a replacement quickly, let alone transfer knowledge. How do US companies deal with the loss of personal experience?" – S. Kolassa - Reinstate Monica Dec 16 '14 at 13:28
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – jmort253 Dec 18 '14 at 12:52
  • comments removed : Please avoid using comments for extended discussion. Instead, please use The Workplace Chat. On Workplace SE, comments are intended to help improve a post. Please see What "comments" are not... for more details. – jmort253 Dec 18 '14 at 13:00
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I currently work in Canada but have worked in the US previously. In both places, a 2 weeks notice is common as a way to tie up loose ends relatively quickly. For some higher up positions like a director the notice period may be higher assuming the departure is somewhat amicable and hand off of current work could take some time.

Contracts can vary from as little as a couple of weeks to as long as about a year where in Canada there will often be a break before continuing on as there is a risk of the contractor being classified as an employee by the government. Some people may have contract renewals as in one place I worked for a few years, the contractor was there before I started and still there when I left though he did take a month break each year as part of his process.

Projects are generally structured so that there can be the re-allocation of resources and sometimes the breaks come where a contractor take a bit of a break before coming back to the project after what would seem like a long vacation for an employee. Documentation can vary though most places I know will do minimal documentation as there isn't much value seen in that though I did have a place where I did a fair bit on documentation though I did have the challenge that my visa was expiring and I would be leaving the company for that reason.