Generally speaking, most employees know that they are expected to give two weeks’ notice if they quit. As an employer, you need this time to conduct interviews and hire someone to replace them. This is done as a courtesy, and most employees who decide to quit will tell you that they’re putting in their notice, but they won’t actually be off of payroll for two weeks.
But what if you have an employee who tells you that they’re going to quit and that this is their last day? You may ask them for the two weeks’ notice so that you have time to replace them, but what if they say no? Can they do this?
Unless they have a contract, they can
The thing about a two weeks’ notice is that it’s generally just a gesture by the employee showing that they don’t want to put the business in a bad position. They would like to have a good recommendation from you in the future.
But that doesn’t mean they’re doing it because they have to. Unless they have a contract stating that they must provide some sort of notice before they leave, they’re likely under at-will employment laws. These laws do not require employees to give any notice. You may be frustrated if an employee simply walks off the job or decides not to come in, but they’re not legally doing anything wrong if they don’t give you that notice.
This is just one reason why employers and employees can wind up in disputes, and it’s important for all involved to understand their rights and obligations.