View Full Version : Notice period and the law


pinhead
01-05-2005, 15:22
Can anyone give me advice as to where I stand legally and the consequences of my actions?

I am on a three month notice period at work and have found another job, not with a competitor who wanted me to serve only a months notice. I negotiated six weeks with him and he has agreed. I handed in my resignation giving six weeks notice. One week later my present employer gave me a letter telling me to work nine weeks notice. I now have the choice of walking out or asking my new employer to wait another three weeks if he will. I fear if I ask him he may wihdraw his offer. The new job is more money, better prospects and less hours so it seems a no brainer. however I would hate to leave on a bad note.

Any advice welcome.

Cyclone
01-05-2005, 15:33
it's probably a bit late to say that you should have just been honest about your notice period.

Do you have any annual leave accrued with your current employer, take that as the last few weeks of your notice period if you can.

Titian
01-05-2005, 15:45
As far as I am aware you are legally obliged to serve your notice, unless your employer has breached thier own contract in some way.

pinhead
01-05-2005, 15:47
Originally posted by Cyclone
it's probably a bit late to say that you should have just been honest about your notice period.

Do you have any annual leave accrued with your current employer, take that as the last few weeks of your notice period if you can.


I was, I said on the application that I was on a three month contract. He wanted me to start within a month of the job offer. I do have holidays but I need them in August, I need to know what the implications of walking off the job are.

Titian
01-05-2005, 15:54
Originally posted by pinhead
I was, I said on the application that I was on a three month contract. He wanted me to start within a month of the job offer. I do have holidays but I need them in August, I need to know what the implications of walking off the job are.

I think it will depend on your employer. If they are willing to negotiate then give it a try by offering to help find a replacement. Otherwise i think you may be stuck, legally.

leeroyb
01-05-2005, 15:58
This may be just my experience so I'm not sure about the law, but I had a similar situation, when I discussed it with my employer at the time they said I'd sacrifice the company reference, some pension stuff I didn't pay into and holiday pay owed, but I took this before I left anyway.

Cyclone
01-05-2005, 16:00
if you leave without agreement early then they might have the right to reclaim monies equal to your salary for that period. Exactly the same as if they ended your contract immediately you would get paid in leui.

savbaby
02-05-2005, 08:33
i am sure that the law is you only have to work 7 days notice, regardless of your length of service.. the only time notice is longer is if the employer is letting you go. i think the employers can request longer notice but ido not think oyu have to give it.

Cyclone
02-05-2005, 08:35
Originally posted by savbaby
i am sure that the law is you only have to work 7 days notice, regardless of your length of service.. the only time notice is longer is if the employer is letting you go. i think the employers can request longer notice but ido not think oyu have to give it.

notice period is defined in your contract, there is no set amount in law.

commie pig
03-05-2005, 09:06
Originally posted by Cyclone
notice period is defined in your contract, there is no set amount in law.
there is actually, but it's only a minimum of (something like) seven days. however that is merely a minimum and a guideline, your contract can state almost anything.

so to refuse to work the notice agreed in the contract is a breach of that contract, and the company CAN sue the worker if they break it. More likely they will simply give a god awful reference anbd badmouth you around the place - which can be serious if you are at all senior (as I guess you would be with a 3 month notice period) and in an industry where a good rep is important.

As to holiday - you won't be at this company in August, so it doesn't matter if you need to take it tjhen, as you will start a new holiday wentitlement period when you start with your new company.

missrabbit
03-05-2005, 10:09
i am currently looking for a new job as i hate my current job and no one really likes me (big age difference and am seen as too young and incapable of doing the same job as the older staff). I am on my 6 month probation period but my contact says that i have to give 1 months notice. When i get a new job i want to leave asap and am tempted to just not go back. I wouldn't normally do this but i am so unhappy at work. I have told my boss that the office is a horrible atmosphere and he hasn't done anything about it and even adds to it. I know that if i hand in my notice and work the month, it will be 10 times worse and that my boss wouldn't let me work any less than a month.

Didn't wanna start my own thread as they would have just been merged, but what can happen if i was to do this? Can my employer sue me?

neeeeeeeeeek
03-05-2005, 10:26
I think that technically your employer could sue for costs incured. Say you leave 3 weeks early and they have to get a contractor in for three weeks, I think that they could try and charge you for that and anything else then can muster! As to weather they would bother, who knows..

Cyclone
03-05-2005, 10:27
if you find a new job then make sure you state in your resignation that you are resigning with immediate effect with the reason given being the same as your complaint before and the lack of action taken to address it. You might also mention constructive dismisal, although since you're on a probation period you probably couldn't make it stick.

willman
03-05-2005, 12:02
with regards to missrabbits' predicament if you resign & state that you hold the company responsible for making your life a misery, they tend to be a little more understanding.you can legally resign & sue them for "forcing" you to do so because of working conditions. (it's got a posh name for it but it eludes me at the moment)

willman
03-05-2005, 12:06
found it "constructive dimissal" this is from the gov.co. site

"Constructive Dismissal may also include situations where an employer harasses or abuses an employee, or an employer gives an employee an ultimatum to "quit or be fired" and the employee resigns in response."

willman
03-05-2005, 12:08
termination times

"The following specifies the periods of notice an employer must give an employee based on length of employment:

Length of Employment: Notice Required
Less than 3 months None
3 months but less than 1 year 1 week
1 year but less than 3 years 2 weeks
3 years but less than 4 years 3 weeks
4 years but less than 5 years 4 weeks
5 years but less than 6 years 5 weeks
6 years but less than 7 years 6 weeks
7 years but less than 8 years 7 weeks "
from gov.co site.

Titian
03-05-2005, 12:17
It still all boils down to what is stated in your contract. You sign your contract when you start working for a company, you should say at this point if you want to alter anything. If you sign it you are legally bound by it's content unless your employer breaches it first.

Your only other option is to hope they are of a good nature and see your predicament.

http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?type=RESOURCES&itemId=1073792436

Sauber
10-01-2007, 13:41
When this happens the employee's resignation is treated as an actual dismissal by the employer, so the employee can claim Unfair Dismissal.
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Natane
10-01-2007, 16:11
I know lots of people who left their job earlier than the notice period, for one reason or another. I have yet to hear of any company wanting to take people to court for the sake of a couple of weeks' notice and they wouldn't want the publicity. Let's face it, the public are more likely to remember a local company's name for taking an employee to court, than your name! If your new employer knows that your reference may refer to you leaving earlier than the notice period, they will understand it was for their benefit. Furthermore, a company cannot say anything bad or untrue about you in a reference anyway, or you could sue them.

Natane
10-01-2007, 16:13
ps lots of poeple dont hand in their notice until after the reference has been sent and accepted as ok by the new employer.

Cyclone
13-01-2007, 21:14
Furthermore, a company cannot say anything bad or untrue about you in a reference anyway, or you could sue them.

They can say bad things, just so long as they can prove that they are true.

Natane
13-01-2007, 21:26
from CIPD website, lots of other stuff, but here is one point:-


"There is no detailed legislation specifically designed to deal with the provision of references to employees in all occupations. However the following legislation is relevant.

The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 (UCTA) may apply to attempts to disclaim liability for a reference.
The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 Act applies to the provision of references, and employers engaged in the provision of financial services governed by this Act are bound to supply references.
The Data Protection Act 1998 may also apply to the processing of information in the provison of a reference.
It is now clear that discriminatory acts committed by any employer after termination of an employee's contract of employment are within the remit of the discrimination legislation."


So, you can always reqauest a copy of the reference by requesting to see data held on file about you, which is covered under DPA.

As cyclone says, the bad stuff must be able to be evidently proven, should there be consequences.

let us know what you end up doing.

billsmother
17-01-2007, 18:37
Hi
I am about to resign my job as my employer has made it impossible for me to work there (I think). I am resigning before they put me into disciplinary. Am I right that they can't do anything to me if I resign? I am sure I won't get a glowing reference but I too was under the impression that they can't give a 'bad' reference.

Cyclone
17-01-2007, 18:47
as has been said several times, they can give you any reference they like.
To stay safe in case you sue them for libel and damages they should only say things that they can prove are true.
So if you've been ill 24 times in the last 6 months, they can say so. If you have terrible time keeping and they can prove this, they can say so.

sniffy
09-04-2009, 11:56
Hi,

I am in a similar predicament. I think I am about to be offered a new job but I am worried that the 3 month notice period in my current contract will put my prospective employer off. I have been honest and let my new employer know my notice period but mentioned that I thought my current employer would negotiate due to the current economic climate.

Now I'm not so sure, a colleague recently handed his notice in and has been made to work three months.

To add further complication, my current company's order book is very poor. We are likely to miss our targets over the next few months. We have already been asked to work shorter weeks and lay offs are being threatened. Can my employer force me to work 3 months notice when the possiblity of redundancy is looming and I have found a new job?

Cyclone
09-04-2009, 12:33
They can, but would they be so petty?

beckysheffie
10-04-2009, 19:58
http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1584

not sure if that is usefull to you...

beckysheffie
10-04-2009, 20:11
ok... if you negotiated with your employee 6 weeks... maybe write a letter back saying we negoiated 6 weeks, what is the problem.
I would give some one a call to confirm what the options are, just because you signed a contact does not mean it is legally applicable. ACAS are very good...
I was owed holiday pay (I worked part time and everyone gets holiday pay) but the company were being slow giving it to me and made up rubbish like I had to ask for holiday pay, on full time staff get it....
Best of luck.

watchcoll
10-04-2009, 20:25
to protect themselves many compainies now only give references that refer to facts and figures only rather than personal opinions from individuals, so you are effectively responsible for making your own references.

ie, absence history, punctuality, any outstanding disciplinary warnings or hearings, etc
the only question that is based on opinion is often "would you re-employ?" answered with a simple yes or no.

if you've behaved yourself at work you shouldnt get a bad reference, and even if your boss hates you and puts would not re-employ, as long as your other facts and figures are immaculate then they will be easy to see through.

eternity73
04-06-2011, 00:49
Hi
I was hoping to get some advice. I was put off on sick leave by the doctor due to work related stress, mainly due to difficulties with certain managers in the office. I was offered another job and start on Monday, I have handed in my notice for my current job and my last official day was today. However I have been contacted by one of the senior managers in the office (not my line manager) who has said that she wants to meet with me to 'tie up some loose ends' but I really don't want to. I've felt sick ever since she contacted me yesterday. I guess what I want to check is, since I have completed my notice and am now no longer an employee of the company, am I under any obligation to meet with this person?
Many thanks

spuggy1
04-06-2011, 07:18
If I were you I would ask them to put it down on paper and post it to you,I cant imagine for a moment that you are obliged to attend in person,If you have to attend take some one with you

denlin
04-06-2011, 07:50
If I were you I would ask them to put it down on paper and post it to you,I cant imagine for a moment that you are obliged to attend in person,If you have to attend take some one with you

I agree with this the only thing they need to do is pay you and send you your P45/P60 - they can post them out to you and I take it your salary goes into bank. If you do go take someone with you, if a friend/family member not available contact ACAS Aand say you are not happy to go on your own. Good luck with new job:D:thumbsup:

steveroberts
04-06-2011, 08:05
Hi
I was hoping to get some advice. I was put off on sick leave by the doctor due to work related stress, mainly due to difficulties with certain managers in the office. I was offered another job and start on Monday, I have handed in my notice for my current job and my last official day was today. However I have been contacted by one of the senior managers in the office (not my line manager) who has said that she wants to meet with me to 'tie up some loose ends' but I really don't want to. I've felt sick ever since she contacted me yesterday. I guess what I want to check is, since I have completed my notice and am now no longer an employee of the company, am I under any obligation to meet with this person?
Many thanks

No. And tell her so...sounds to me that she want to involve you in her office politics!

spuggy1
04-06-2011, 08:48
My last employer refused to pay me my holiday intitlement and to give me a referance I got in touch with ACAS and they were great,they sorted everything out for me,so if you have any problems with your ex-employer get ACAS involved they are here to help us

gemben7
07-06-2011, 12:17
How did you get on? Did you leave after 6 weeks?

I have a friend in a similar quandry. Advice welcome, thanks

Vantastic
07-06-2011, 12:35
It's common for employers to request an exit interview (especially if there has been some sort of problem) but you don't have to attend. It's just 'good practise' on their part to ensure the same thing doesn't happen again.

ShazSRD
17-12-2011, 09:59
I have a similar issue on notice period. I rec'd my probationary review yesterday which is for 6 months. I am not at manager level, but my notice period on my contract is 2 months, with my employer only giving 1 month. Notice period during Probationary is 1 month by employer, doesn't say anything about my notice period.
My probationery period was extended so that I would work on my 'happy face' and absence(I had been off 3 days). Policy states that if the company has an issue with absence they shld meet to discuss this with me, allowing a representative to be with me. This has not happened. And this was the first that I knew that this was an issue. Only got a copy of Absence procedure yesterday. In all it is very clear that I don't fit with the teams dynamics, and they are issuing reasons for the extention to my probationary that they can't back up. The happy face - means that I am apparently not approachable - even though I have never said a bad word to anyone, and have helped with queries whenever I have been asked. Just excuses. I have worked for 33 years now, and have never in my whole career had a bad review appraisal, and have definately never had a probationary period extended.
My question I suppose is where I stand with notice period. I do come from an HR background, so should have raised the notice period as a concern to begin with but then i didn't think I would be in this position.
Does anyone have any advice?

Fediuld
09-01-2012, 13:50
Hi,
I am sorry for reviving this thread, but seems is going on for few years with great advice.

I currently and for the last two months I work 75 miles away from my house. That is a long commute yes. (750 miles per week).
I got this role because my last company went bust, and before Christmas job market is pretty dead. So I settled there because seems the role was good. However, had to put the car for service and the lease company notified by the current mileage that were added because of the new job (had plan to buy the car at the end of term), so to cut the story short they getting the car back tomorrow.

I was looking to move in the area where my current job is from the start, however consider that I still own a house that I cannot sell in the area and had to be 2nd house cost. So with costs for another car in the pipeline (still have to pay the lease for the current for another 8 months) can't afford to have 2 houses.

So I send my resignation to my current work, because I cannot commute there. Asking to waive my notice for that reason. (By bus takes 5 hours each way). My manager, as he was going to the HR, gave me a call saying that he cannot waive my notice period, and that I have to find the means to go and work there for the notice period. He insisted to rent a house there, and ask from other colleagues living in the village is to help me commute. Or live in a hotel for the period and walk to work. Either way I have to finish the project, they handed over to me last Thursday, and was on hold since the other developer left back in July.

The solutions he provided adding costs to my already very tight salary, and do not solve my car issue. If I rent a place, there, has to be for long term, nobody rents for 1 month. And how can I live without anything? Hotel is even higher costs eating through my savings (which are enough to be unemployed for 4-5 months). And we are talking here about rural south Lincolnshire, not any city where isn't a problem even if you rent a place. I understand his frustration because he cannot find worthy developers to fill up the other two positions the last 4 months and since I started there, he had more than 15 interviews, and nobody could do the technical test.

So I contacted ACAS, explained the situation and they told me that the only reason to sue me for not working the notice is if they have financial damages because of my leave. They cannot force me into debt to rent houses, nor to commute if is impossible.

However given that the company has nothing to do with software development, where my role is, but they manufacture food. What the damages can be to sue me for? I would like your thoughts.

Thanks.

Brian Hanson
10-02-2012, 16:23
One months notice in writing and signed by you is sufficient (Make sure you keep a photocopy of your written notice).

If your present employer disagrees, that's hardlines to them. At the end of your month's notice you walk out and start your new job. If your present employer wants to make any further issue of the matter let them. You're covered, you've got your photocopy to show to any tribunal or court that you gave your present employer one months 'legal' notice of your intentions to leave their business. I'd be surprised if any further actions were taken against you.

Ha3el
11-02-2012, 00:19
I think there is some truth in the saying about not burning your bridges. IMO all efforts should be made to discuss the situation and just ask, people might be surprised at the outcome and at least they wont be thought bad of for just walking out. things can always go wrong, maybe something happens and the new job falls through or isnt as was expected. Obviously if people are forced to walk out they're forced, but sometimes just being honest could be enough