Quitting & Being Fired

Part of our guide to your rights as a worker in B.C.

I want to quit. Do I need to give notice?

If you want to quit, you don’t need to give two-weeks notice. Two-weeks notice is a courtesy, not an employee obligation. 

My employer just fired me without notice. Is that legal?

Non-unionized workers do not have a right to employment in British Columbia.  Your employer can fire you without notice and without cause as long as your rights under the Employment Standards Act (ESA)  are upheld which is compensation in lieu of service or working notice. 

There are few job protections for workers in BC and it is unfair, especially to low-wage and precarious employees.  If you agree with us that there should be better job protection laws than the ESA currently provides, and if you want to support the work we do, join the network here!

Minimum rights after you’ve been fired

In your first 3 months of work your employer can fire you without giving you notice or paying you severance. This is often known as a probationary period.

If you’re fired after working for more than 3 months, you may be entitled to compensation for length of service:

  • After three consecutive months of employment = one week’s pay
  • After 12 consecutive months of employment = two weeks’ pay
  • After three consecutive years = three weeks’ pay, plus one week’s pay for each additional year of employment to a maximum of eight weeks.

No compensation is required if you’re given written notice equal to the number of weeks for which you’re eligible (see above formula). For example: If you worked at the same place for two years, your boss has to either give you two weeks of notice or two weeks of pay when firing you. They can also give you a combination of the two: one weeks pay and one weeks notice.

If your employer gives you working notice of termination, they must provide you with your regular weekly pay, regardless of the number of hours that you work.

Contact us if your employer doesn’t pay you correctly. This is wage theft.

We can help you to get your wages or tips back. To get in touch, fill in this form.

Just cause

If you’re fired without written notice or severance pay it is the employer’s responsibility to provide evidence that they fired you for ‘just cause’. Unsatisfactory performance or instances of minor misconduct such as absenteeism or tardiness do not usually cut it. Just cause is not needed if you are in your 3 month probationary period.

What about getting my final pay cheque or tips?

If you’re fired you must receive all outstanding wages within 48 hours. If you quit, your employer must pay you all outstanding wages within 6 days.

All outstanding wages include vacation pay,  compensation in lieu of service and tips if applied.

Contact us if your employer doesn’t pay you correctly. This is wage theft.

We can help you to get your wages or tips back. To get support, fill in this form.

My boss cut my scheduled shifts, is that legal?

If there is a week in which 50% of your weekly wages are cut (averaged over the previous 8 weeks) and you did not consent to this, you may be eligible for severance pay if you quit your job as a result of the reduction. Your severance in this case is calculated in the same manner if you had been fired or laid off.