An employee's guide on how to give notice effectively

Guest Postemployee notice of terminationThinking of leaving your job? Amongst the many things for you to think about is how and when to give notice to your employer. Here are some common questions answered by employment lawyer Jon Curtis, managing director of myhrtoolkit.

What's the best way to give notice
Unless there are unusual circumstances the best way is face to face with the relevant manager and then handing a confirmation letter over.

Should I give notice in writing?
The short answer is, yes. Some more formal written contracts of employment have a "notices" clause which require all formal notices under the contract to be made in writing. It is important you check this clause because sometimes there may be rules about how such notices can be given. For instance email my not be allowed or service may only be valid if posted to the company's registered address (which might be different to the trading address).

Most people though will not have such formal agreements but even if there is no notices clause it is still highly recommended to confirm your resignation in writing, so that there is no ambiguity later as to when notice was given.

When does notice run from?
Generally speaking it would run from the day after the notice is served. Ideally you will hand deliver the notice so that the date is clear. Fax and email both effect immediate delivery of course (as long as the recipient agrees it arrived!). Post is good but if it is posted don't forget the letter may take some days to arrive and the notice will not run until the letter has been received. Ideally if you are posting, then follow up by phone or email to ensure receipt.

What information should I include?
Certainly the notice letter should be dated to prove when it was served. Ideally you would also include the final date of employment as well as dealing with any accrued but untaken holiday pay. Some employers will expect you to take all of your holiday before you leave, others will allow you to be paid in lieu. Of course, if you have taken more holiday than you have accrued, you may have money deducted in your final pay packet.

How much notice do I need to give?
This will normally be set out in your written contract but if it is not, you will need to give "reasonable" notice which could be one week to six months depending on how long you have worked for your employer and how senior you are. You may need to take formal advice if you are unsure.

Will I be paid in lieu of notice?
That is not for you to decide and is out of your hands. Depending on the circumstances, your employer may want you to work or your employer may want you off the premises immediately. One other option is that your employer may keep you employed but ask you not to come into the office. This is called "garden leave".

Are there any other considerations?
Working during a notice period can sometimes be awkward for both employer and employee. It is important for both parties to remain professional. Sometimes the employer will want to know where you are going to work next. You do not have any obligation to tell them, but (assuming the choice in not contentious!) you might well calm any fears by telling them.

What about post termination obligations?
Your contract may well contain post termination restrictions which you should ensure are properly understood. Even if you don't have such restrictions you will probably have an ongoing obligation to keep certain information confidential so be sure you understand your obligations in this regard.

Bob Teasdale is business manager for MYHRToolkit. Providers of cloud based HR Software solutions.

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