GIVING NOTICE: Always check the details in your employment contract before leaving your job.
A contract of employment is where you will find the company policy for handing your notice.
Your employer will have stated specific rules about:
- Procedures for giving notice at work by employees.
- Payments to staff during their notice period.
- What may happen if an employee leaves to start working for a competitor (called ‘restrictive covenants’).
Employees must provide at least one week of notice if they have been in a job for more than one month. In some cases, workers can give verbal notice of their intention to quit the job. But, your contract may state the need for you to give notice in writing.
It is best to give written notice to your employer if you think you may need to refer to it in the future. This would be important if your situation goes to an employment tribunal.
As a rule, a notice period would run from the beginning of the day ‘after‘ handing in your notice at work in the United Kingdom.
Note: Employees who do not give enough notice may be in breach of their employment contract. The same also applies if you give a verbal notice when it must be a written one. In cases such as these, your employer could take you to court.
What Happens If You Change Your Mind?
What if an employee resigns in the ‘heat of the moment‘? It happens – often during a workplace argument. You must inform your employer immediately if you change your mind about handing in a notice. Even so, an employer can then choose whether to accept the resignation – or not!
Note: You can get free legal advice about handing in a notice and pay rights from Acas.
Employee Payment During the Notice Period
Employees have entitlement to their normal pay rate during a notice period. This also includes any time that you are:
Notice Period Payment in Lieu
Employers have the right to ask an employee to leave immediately after they hand in their notice. As a rule, they may offer a one-off payment ‘payment in lieu’ for you to leave straight away. This would be instead of allowing an employee to work out their notice period.
But, a payment in lieu would only apply if it is already written in the contract or the employee agrees to it. You do not have to agree to a payment in lieu. In this case, you would then need to work out the full notice period.
Notice Pay Disputes
There can be disputes about notice pay with employers. It is best to try an ‘informal’ approach to resolve the notice pay dispute. But, the company will have grievance procedures for you to follow if it fails.
What if you still cannot solve the dispute? In some cases, you can make a complaint to an employment tribunal for employer breach of contract.
Gardening Leave Rules UK
In some cases, an employer may not want an employee who handed in their notice to come into work. They may ask them to work at home or work from another location during their notice period. This situation is better known as ‘gardening leave‘ in the United Kingdom.
Note: An employee who already handed in a notice at work still gets the same contractual benefits and pay.
Rules of Restrictive Covenants
Often, there are specific terms in a works contract about working for a competitor after giving notice to quit. The terms may also address having contact with certain customers of the company. You may get banned for a period of time after leaving your company.
Note: There are specific rules of ‘restrictive covenants’ that may apply to your situation. Breaching the restrictive covenants written in your contract means your company could take you to court.