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Changing jobs at short notice in the UK?
December 4, 2011 10:07 PM   Subscribe

I am in the UK. I am currently employed, but have accepted a new job with a start date early Jan. I am wondering how to gracefully(?) resign in a way that won't screw my finances?

Current job: I am still on a probation period with them, until Dec 20th. Until this date, either party can terminate the contract with one week's notice. After then it goes to 4 weeks.

I had originally asked for several days holiday over this time: 23 Dec -2 Jan. Obviously there are a few paid holidays in there - I was only taking 4 days of annual leave.

The crux of my question is: when is the right time to give in my notice? I am worried if I give it to them early - say this week, that they'll terminate me immediately - leaving me unemployed for 3 or so weeks at Christmas. On the other hand, I feel like a bit of a dick quitting with one weeks’ notice (but y'know their behaviour hasn't been stellar either).

I imagine there is no possible way to get any holidays, or that they will let me work beyond the 23rd (it is very quiet), so in an ideal world the 23rd will be my last day.

((Ugh, also reading my contract now it says that on termination of my employment, all holiday accrued at the date of notice is treated as having been taken... So basically that means I'll get nothing.))

I am new to this country, so any advice or pointers on who to ask, would be gratefully, gratefully accepted.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (8 answers total)
That contract sounds shady - I didn't think you were allowed to do something like that with the holiday leave. This information implies to me that they can't take it away, for instance, - but it's possibly a default entitlement that you are allowed to contract away (and technically you've probably accrued less than a day of annual leave so far). If you can call some worker's rights hotline to ask about that, I would - maybe these guys?

That aside, sounds like you should give notice the 20th in order to stay employed for the longest period of time. You don't need to feel like a dick for giving the required amount of notice - it's unlikely that you are integral to their plans yet, if that makes you feel better :)
posted by jacalata at 10:57 PM on December 4, 2011

I agree with jacalata that the contract sounds dodgy.

The company wrote the contract and put the 1 week notice thing in there, they designed it for their own benefit, and there is no reason for you not to take advantage of it, give your week's notice on the 23rd.
posted by biffa at 11:51 PM on December 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Don't give notice until the 19th or 20th (whichever is the last day you can give 1 week notice instead of 4). You certainly should not give notice before then. They would not hesitate to cut you in a way that gives you the least money and saves them the most, and you are only exercising a contractual right that is in the contract that they drafted and pursuant to the terms that they imposed.

You are contractually obligated to give them the amount of notice described above? Is there a penalty written into the contract that you would be liable for if you breached it? There's no question that you're within your rights to give notice on December 20, so the only real question is whether you could give notice later than that (I don't know the answer).
posted by J. Wilson at 11:56 PM on December 4, 2011

The probation period is for you as well as them.

I'd tell them in your meeting on the 20th that you do not wish to make the employment permanent and that you wish to work your weeks notice. They might say that they don't want you to work it, but they'll almost definitely have to pay you for it anyway (depending on your contract)

The fact it's fallen over Christmas/New Year is just one of those things. I ended up serving less notice than my last company desired as my contract was worded "1 month" not "4 weeks", as I handed my notice in early Feb, I finished in early March.
posted by chrispy108 at 1:01 AM on December 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

And make sure that when you do give notice, it is written, and copies go to all the appropriate people. Just in case.
posted by lulu68 at 8:24 AM on December 5, 2011

On the other hand, I feel like a bit of a dick quitting with one weeks’ notice (but y'know their behaviour hasn't been stellar either).

Ignore your feelings. Companies don't cry when they let people go.

However, don't burn any bridges even if they get hostile about it. Leave with class and dignity. Say goodbye to all your coworkers and wish them happy holidays...
posted by srboisvert at 9:44 AM on December 5, 2011

I'm an American, so can't speak to the issue with your holiday leave, but I'm wondering if it's a function of your probationary period?

I'd give notice on the 20th; it seems like no matter what you do, you'll lose your annual leave (either by having to work those days or not be paid for them) and taking those days may obligate you to 4 more weeks of employment with this company. Find out what you are liable for if you break the time period specified, but I think the 20th is your best option.
posted by sm1tten at 5:44 PM on December 5, 2011

Hand in your notice on 20th. You shiuld get paid through to the 27th. And your last day in the office will be 23rd because then it's bank holidays. Feign ignorance of the contract and ask to be paid for your accrued holidays - you never know they might say yes.
posted by plonkee at 3:29 AM on December 6, 2011

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