What is "notice period"?The notice period consists in a standard number of days that the employee still needs to work for the company after announcing his/her decision to quit the job.
Where can I find my notice period?
Read your labor contract. It should mention the notice period. If you have lost it or haven't received it, ask your manager or human resources.
Is it mandatory?
Yes, unless you negotiate with your manager. Notice period can be cancelled or reduced.
Can they keep me more than the standard number of days I have in my contract?
No. Resignation is not a request but an informing action passed to your employer. After the notice period has passed you no longer have any obligations and may go home.
Can they say they haven't received my resignation today and extend the period?
Yes. That's why you need to make sure your hand it in in writing. Make sure you register it officially and preferably have your manager's signature. Keep a copy so you know when the notice period ends.
Do I get paid for the notice period?
Yes, you have the same rights as any other employee.
What happens If I decide to leave and don't come for work, even if I have notice period?
You can get unauthorised absence in your timesheet, HR may start a disciplinary action and your contract may end on disciplinary grounds. This can affect you if you go to an interview and the recruiter decides to ask for references from your previous employer.
How long is the notice period?
It depends from country to country. It's normally mentioned in local labor law and in your contract. It normally depends on the country and on the position. I will tell you the case of Romania where I work - it's 20 working days for a regular employee (which is a full month more or less) and 45 working days for managers (which is about 2.5 months). Of course, the period can be discussed and you may end up with less if you agree with your manager.
Why are they keeping me in the company? Why is it necessary?
Because the company needs to find a replacement for you. If they let you leave just like that, the rest of the team will have more work to do or some of the work will not get done at all. Also, they will most probably keep you for the entire period to make sure that they hire someone for your position and that the new colleague has time to learn from you about your job. So expect to train someone on the job during your last days.