I am currently working a freelance contract as a software developer for a company in another state, NC. The contract is very brief and only states the start/end date, the rate and the minimum hours of work per week. There is no language around termination.

The contract is through the end of Sept, but for personal/family reasons I'd really like to get out of the contract by the end of May. I've never been in a position like this before. I understand that I'll probably burn a bridge with this company, but I still want to remain ethical and professional from my end.

Without a termination clause, am I still allowed to resign or do I need to negotiate?

  • WIthout a termination clause in the contract they have little recourse against you for terminating. That said, it would be good form to give as much notice as possible.
    – Myles
    Apr 10, 2015 at 16:49
  • Before terminating, you may want to consider the options: is there any middle ground between the current contract and your resignation which will result in a situation that is workable for you? If so, then perhaps you can offer to renegotiate the contract and prevent having to burn the bridge entirely.
    – Cronax
    Apr 13, 2015 at 9:42
  • Keep in mind, this is different in other countries. In Switzerland (and many european countries) there is a default cancellation period that you have to respect if nothing is stated in the work contract (and also in other contracts).
    – Mafii
    Jun 20, 2018 at 9:22

3 Answers 3


You should read your contract first. If there is no signs about possible penalties you should go ahead. Also in my contracting career I have never saw a contract not describing early resignation and notice periods.

In terms of burning bridges you should ask yourself what is important to you? Is this a good client? Is it worth keeping it intact?

Also this is what contracting is all about - freedom to choose.


Does your country have a general work law? In Germany, it is common that for all questions not handled by your contract you refer to the general work law. For example if your contract does not include a termination clause, you look up the work law, and it has defined that the employer has the right to require you to give him the termination notice up to 3 months in advance, meaning after you tell them you quit, you need to do up to 3 months before leaving (you can leave early if the employer agrees).

If you do have such a law, refer to it before, if not, you are probably free to go. Whatever you do, an early notice is always the right thing to do.

  • I will add that in France, we have "convention collective" which can be signed by your employer and specified in your contract. This convention can describe your termination clause instead of your contract. So your termination clause may be described in a sort of "subcontract".
    – Valrog
    Jun 20, 2018 at 8:50

You are still allowed to resign, and without any delay.

THAT SAID: I would still give them 2 weeks as professional.

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