I am a contractor and my current contract ends on May 29. I have been in this position for a total of 3 contracts (including the current one), in contract lengths of 3 months, 3 months, and 6 months, respectively.

I am fairly sure that they will offer me an extension after this contract as I am the only one in this job position, and if I leave, they will have to find someone new to replace me.

According to my contract, I have to give a two-week notice period, however, I believe that is not enough to both find, hire and train someone new.

Given that, I would like to give a bigger notice period to my company, preferably 1 month.

How should I approach my manager about this, and would it be 'polite' to do so?

Clarification :

I plan to finish my contract which ends on May 29. What the notice period is for is me letting them know that I won't be accepting a future offer from them. (unless they give me an offer I can't refuse, which is unlikely since money is not the problem)

  • When your previous contracts were nearing the end, when did negotiations start? Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 13:39
  • About a week before the end of the contract, if I remember correctly.
    – Zaenille
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 14:18
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    There is your answer. They can live with only weeks notice, so there is no need to give a month. Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 14:19
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    According to what you write, the two weeks notice is in the contract. Assuming that the company drafted the contract, they put some thought into what would be appropriate and decided that it would be 2 weeks. Why not just believe them that this is all the time they need? Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 10:47

9 Answers 9


If you want to give a longer notice period, then give a longer notice period.

Nobody minds if you give a longer notice period - it helps them with transition planning - so I wouldn't worry about the "polite" aspect, as you're already being generous.

I'm unsure from your question if you're planning on staying until May 29th, or leaving at some time between now and then. If you're planning on staying until the end of contract, you don't technically have to give a notice period - the contract would just expire. However, letting them know a month early will not be taken poorly. If it is before then - even a day before - then yes, you should give notice.

You don't mention why you're leaving - I'm assuming here that you have another role lined up? Or maybe a holiday! All you do is just have a meeting with the manager, and then tell him/her that when the contract expires/on this date you'll be moving to a new role/partying on a beach.

They will appreciate the extended notice, which is useful if you ever need more work in the future.

The only reason you wouldn't give extra notice is if you think they'll turn around and give you 2 weeks notice. That seems pretty unlikely though.

  • I edited my question to clear up some things. I'm leaving on May 29, but planning to let them know sometime April.
    – Zaenille
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 2:17

The contract is in place with certain regulations that protect both yourself and your employer.

The contract has a two week notice so if you leave during the length of the contract your employer can take necessary actions. If it is two weeks that means they believe two weeks is enough for such situations.

Legally you could just refuse any other contract once this one ends. But as you said, to allow them some time to find someone and train it, give a two week notice; that would be on 15 May (or before). Mention that you are giving this notice to match the period agreed in the contract so they can have time and make the required decisions for any possible future work that might appear after 29 May.

Fulfilling your contractual agreements is the most professional thing you can do. Being too polite might actually hurt in a professional environment.


The only time not giving extra notice is a bad idea is if you suspect your old employer will react badly. Such as:

  • If you already have vacation planned during the transition period that they would refuse to let you take, or want to take some time off at short notice because you'll forfeit unused leave when you leave. In this case, keep quiet until you've returned from vacation/etc.

  • If they might immediately show you the door instead of allowing you to work out your notice period in the office; and you can't start early with your new employer (because they can't bring you on sooner, moving logistics mean you can't start early, etc). In this case, whether you wait until the last minute or announce early with the hope of being able to start your new job sooner, you should still put together a document containing any key information your successor will need and making your ex boss of it's location. Just because senior management are jerks is no reason to spite the other people you worked with.


Giving extra notice is a courtesy that you are welcome to extend at your discretion.

No employer is ever upset that an employee or contractor wanted to stay on for longer or give additional lead time to find a replacement. This is definitely considered a "polite" thing to do, and it reflects well on you as a professional.

Ways to go about it

Judging from the tone & content of your question, it sounds like this is an employer you like and/or have a good working relationship with. Since it seems you have no problem with finishing your current contract and possibly an extra window at the end, your main consideration would be how to go about giving this notice and structuring the transition period.

Option 1: Be up front

Rather than give notice at the point the contract ends, be proactive with the employer. Let your manager or point of contact know that as much as you've enjoyed working with them, you'd like to move on to other opporutinites and will not be renewing your contract once it runs up. This will give them extra lead time to try and find a replacement. It may also, depending on how your work is structured/managed, may help you plan transition tasks into your workload—things like more robust documentation, or closing out certain parts of the work that are more involved or dependent on your institutional knowledge.

In my opinion, this is likely your best option. You are being forthright about your plans, and triggering early the discussion about the end of your contact, which is a more productive time to discuss this than a week before your contract ends. Having increased time and visibility into their future resourcing needs is beneficial to smoothly running their business, and employers tend to appreciate things that align with their business goals.

It sounds like you have a good relationship with your employer, so this shouldn't cause problems. If this is not the case, or if the employer lacks maturity or professionalism, this could potentially cause you headaches by souring what would have been a smooth relationship for the duration your contract.

I would recommend assessing your employer and relationship with them and act accordingly.

Option 2: Plan a flexible contract for the transition

Let them know that you're not interested in renewing the contract for a significant length of time, but that you are willing to stay on until they find a replacement. Set up a new contract without a fixed duration so that they're not left in the lurch while they find someone new.

Be careful with this one—this may destroy any sense of urgency they may have to find a replacement since they already "have" someone to do the work. If you choose this option, I'd set an upper limit of how long you're willing to stay if they don't find anyone.

Option 3: Give your 2 weeks and move on

As much as it would be polite and considerate to give extra notice, you're under no obligation to do so, and your employer probably has no expectation that you will do so. If giving extra notice is "polite", giving just 2 weeks is not "impolite" by any means. No one will fault you for it, and you can always be a little more generous if you choose—3 weeks and then leaving is already above and beyond.

  • This is a pretty good answer but might benefit from an explanation of some of the potential dangers associated with choosing to do this. It reads pretty "happy path" right now when I can see there being a few potential problems with the idea.
    – enderland
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 23:18
  • Could you elaborate on what you're referring to by "doing this"? Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 23:22
  • Giving advance notice, sorry.
    – enderland
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 23:32
  • @enderland better? Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 14:29

A contract outlines the minimum you must do. Doing more is absolutely possible, and sometimes even a good thing.

If I say in a contract "I will give you $200" and I end up giving you $300, I am still within the contract (I have given you $200 and then some). If I give you $199, then I am outside the terms of the contract.

To that end, the company is also beholden to the contract. If they say you're contracted for 90 days, then you get 90 days. If they say they will pay you to the end of the contracted period as long as you give 2 weeks notice, giving 4 weeks doesn't change that obligation. The will still have to pay you to the end of the given period. This is all assuming that you will show up and do your job. (and giving that you're wanting to give them extra time to prepare as well as the time you will put into training a new person I'd bet even money that you will show up.)


Consider that they will likely not hire the new person no matter how much notice you give because they don't want to pay (or have the budget) the salary twice. I have never seen anyone who gave a longer than normal notice actually have a replacement on board before they left. If you need a month to get everything ready for your replacement, go for it, but don't assume you will have someone there in time to actually train them unless they are using a current emplyee in your place.

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    So? This still gives them more time to start looking, interview and negotiate a contract with another person.
    – Llewellyn
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 18:23
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    At my current position, I had a two-month overlap with my predecessor who was retiring. At my previous two jobs I gave 3-week notices and helped train my successors - so, again, overlap. I don't think it's that rare.
    – Lyrl
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 19:13

You're a contractor with a contract that ends on May 29th. If neither side wants to add another contract, it would be absolutely normal that you don't turn up on May 30th and stop sending bills, and that's it.

If either side wants to add another contract, they would probably ask about it say end of April or beginning of May. You might say "would you like me to come back, say for another three months" or they might say "would you like to work for us some time more, say for another three months". Obviously in your situation you wouldn't ask, and if the client asks, you would say "sorry, no, I've got other plans".

Now it might be that your client is a bit disorganized, and if you don't turn up on May 30th it would come to them as a total surprise. In that case you might mention the subject first. How much ahead of the end of the contract is up to you. I wouldn't do this four weeks ahead, unless you are fine with a bit of unplanned holiday, because no good dead goes unpunished. Two weeks at most.

Consider what the situation would be like for you if two weeks before the end of the contract they haven't said anything, and you need a job. You would have started looking for another contract a few weeks earlier, and you would take a different contract if they are not moving.


I just wanted to add that you might not want to commit to giving them 30 days/4 weeks to replace you in the event that a new potential employer needs you to start in 2 weeks. I'm currently in that position and it's quite the pickle.


It's totally up to you however I would consider a few things.

  1. The need to hire and train your replacement is not your problem. It is the company's problem and a normal part of business
  2. Does providing a longer notice hurt you in any way with the new company? Or are you postponing new and better pay? Benefits? If so, stick to the standard 2 weeks.

In general, a notice is a professional courtesy and nothing more except in your case where you are contractually required to provide 2 weeks. There is little to gain other than being a "nice guy" by providing more.

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