Advice Column: Work Notices
I am leaving my job for a new one – how much notice do I need to give?
If you want to leave your job you’ll normally need to give your employer advance warning. This is called your notice period.
Look in your contract to see the notice you need to give. If there’s nothing in your contract or terms and conditions, you should give at least 1 week’s notice.
It’s best to resign in writing, so there’s no argument about when you did it. Send a letter or email saying:
- how much notice you’re giving
- when you expect your last day at work to be
You can give more notice than your contract says, if you want – your employer can’t make you leave earlier. If they do make you leave earlier, this counts as sacking you. You should check if you can claim unfair dismissal.
Your notice period starts the day after you resign. This means if you give a week’s notice on Monday your last day at work will be the next Monday.
If you want to give less notice
Ask your employer if they’ll agree to reduce your notice period. Reassure them that leaving early won’t cause them any problems – for example, agree to finish any urgent work. It can be worth reminding them that letting you leave early will mean they don’t have to pay you for as long.
If your employer doesn’t agree, but you want to leave early anyway, think about whether this would cost them any money. For example, if they’d need to get expensive agency staff to replace you at short notice, they could take you to court.
If you have a fixed-term contract
You don’t need to give notice if you want to leave on the last day of your contract.
If you want to leave before the last day of your contract, check if the contract says you can give notice. If it doesn’t say anything, you should give at least 1 week’s notice.
Getting paid in your notice period
You should get your full normal pay if you work during your notice period. This should include any work benefits you get, such as pension contributions or free meals.
If you’re off sick or on maternity leave, paternity leave or adoption leave you’ll only get whatever you would have been normally paid in those circumstances. For example you might only get statutory sick pay if you are off sick.
However, you’re entitled to full pay for 1 week of your notice period, whether you give notice of only 1 week or more than 1 week.
If your employer tells you not to work in your notice period
You should get the same amount of pay if your employer wants you to stop working as soon as you resign. Your employer might either:
- pay all your notice pay at once and dismiss you straight away – this is called pay in lieu of notice or PILON
- pay you as usual until the end of your notice period when your contract ends – this is sometimes called garden leave
If you get pay in lieu of notice
Pay in lieu of notice will give you a single payment with the same amount of money as if you’d worked for your notice period. It should include any work benefits you normally get, such as pension contributions. You’ll pay tax as normal on your notice pay.
Money should be added to make up for any work perks you’d normally have. For example, if you have a company phone you can use for personal calls, you should get extra money to make up for not having this.
You can start other work or apply for benefits straight away.
If you get garden leave
On garden leave you’ll be paid at your usual times in your usual way – you’ll also pay your usual tax. You should keep all your perks and benefits, such as pension contributions or personal use of a company phone.
If you’re on garden leave, check if there are any extra rules in your contract. Some contracts say you can’t start another job while you’re on garden leave
Taking holiday in your notice period
You can ask to take holiday in your notice period, but it’s up to your employer to decide if you can take it. If you go on paid holiday in your notice period you’re entitled to your usual wage.
When you leave you’ll be paid for any holiday you have accrued but not taken, up to your first 28 days of holiday entitlement. This is called your statutory holiday entitlement. If you get more than 28 days a year (including bank holidays), this is called contractual holiday. Check what your contract says about leftover contractual holiday. You might still get paid for any days you don’t use.
If your employer tells you to use up your holiday
Your employer can tell you to use up any holiday you have left over. They’ll also need to tell you when to take it.
Check your contract to see how far in advance your employer should tell you to take holiday. If there’s nothing in your contract, they need to give you at least 2 days’ notice for each day of holiday. For example, if they want you to take 5 days’ holiday, they have to tell you at least 10 days in advance.