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Any employment lawyers around? Question about giving extra notice

(21 Posts)
minipie Mon 02-Jan-17 22:16:05

I've decided I want to resign. Contract says 3 months' notice and I want to finish work at the end of May. So ordinarily I'd give notice at the end of Feb.

However, I am about to be put on another long term project, for a new and important client. Given I'd be going soon, it would be better for my firm/rest of the team, and the client, if I wasn't put on it. (And selfishly it would also be better for me as it would give me a huge extra workload on top of my already large one).

So, I'd like to tell my boss now - this week - that I intend to resign in Feb, effective end of May.

What I'm worried about is whether they could interpret this as my 3 months' notice (or some kind of anticipatory breach which would entitle them to end my employment?) and I would have to stop work before I want to.

Does anyone know whether they could do this?

I'm a lawyer myself but not an employment one and can't seem to find the answer!

Thank you

minipie Mon 02-Jan-17 22:21:18

Forgot to add - I've been there donkeys, so have all the employment rights.

StealthPolarBear Mon 02-Jan-17 22:24:20

I suspect until you give official notice in writing and they confirm thwn you're ok.
cpuld you say you are job hunting, just to keep it a bit more flexible?

minipie Mon 02-Jan-17 22:51:14

Thanks for the quick reply Stealth. So if I told them now "officially" that I want to leave end of May, they could legally make me leave 3 months from now instead?

If that's the position then it feels a bit risky.

Though I guess as you say, the vaguer I am (and obviously orally not in writing) the less chance they could choose to treat it as notice.

Maybe if I tell the relevant partner I may well be leaving in spring... is that sufficiently vague? they can't interpret that as notice surely?

I'm actually resigning to be a SAHM for a while (never thought I'd say that but here I am...) so can't say job hunting.

thanks again, much appreciated.

daisychain01 Tue 03-Jan-17 04:41:11

If it were me I'd have an "off the record" informal chat to start, with your manager and focus on the project and the fact it will be better if you don't work on it due to your imminent departure.

You're so close to your 3 months notice period, I can't imagine them wanting the hassle of messing about and forcing you to leave sooner than you want as its so close to your intended notice period. Not if you've worked there for so long, you have all the protection of employment law on your side.

To be on the safe side , in about 5 weeks get your resignation letter in early citing your intended date of departure and your 3 month notice date. Feb is a short month so that helps.

If you have a good level of trust with management I can't see why they wouldn't act reasonably.

Keep notes of all your meetings, dates discussion points etc.

StealthPolarBear Tue 03-Jan-17 06:20:41

Tbh I don't know. I don't think so...bumping for you smile

Fozzleyplum Tue 03-Jan-17 06:32:32

If you want, you can just give long notice. The contractual notice period is simply a minimum.

As an aside, if you don't let on that you're not going to another job, they might put you on garden leave if your contract allows it and if they don't want you to have further client contact. I wouldn't be comfortable "playing" them in that way, but it is sometimes possible to spook an employer into putting you on garden leave if you really don't want to spend your notice at work. Some private practice firms do so almost as a matter of course.

CheshireSplat Tue 03-Jan-17 06:36:07

What does your contract say? Notice of "at least" 3 months? In which case, the 3 months is a minimum?

minipie Tue 03-Jan-17 09:31:28

Thanks for the further replies (and bump).

Embarrassingly I can't find my contract (it's been that long!) so not sure if it says "at least" 3 months or not.

They don't do gardening leave for non partners but people working out their notice generally aren't expected to work especially hard IME.

I do want to leave on good terms as will want to go back to work in 2/3 years and will need them as a referee!

Sounds like an informal chat focusing on new project issue may be the way forward.

HermioneWeasley Tue 03-Jan-17 09:33:58

If you trust your boss,mi would have an informal chat

Do they offer career breaks? Would that be an option?

minipie Tue 03-Jan-17 10:52:06

A career break would be fab but I can't really see them agreeing to such a long one as they don't know what other staff they'll have by then, how much work etc.

Do I trust him... hmmm... mostly...

minipie Tue 03-Jan-17 13:09:34

Just checked contract (well a friend's but assume mine says the same) and it says "not less than" 3 months.

So guess that puts me on better ground. Though I will still be careful to frame it not as "giving notice" but as "informal advance warning that I will be going"...

minipie Tue 03-Jan-17 13:10:51

It also says my employer can end the employment by giving not less than 3 months' notice confused I presume they still have to have cause and couldn't just terminate on notice, despite this clause?

Fozzleyplum Tue 03-Jan-17 17:57:22

That's correct. If you give 5 months' notice, and the employer then tells you they require you to leave after 3, they would need a potentially fair reason, in exactly the same way as they would if dismissing you from cold. Failure to have a good reason would expose them to the risk of a successful claim in unfair dismissal.

minipie Tue 03-Jan-17 19:57:50

Thanks. You'd think a law firm would have a better contract...

DeepAndCrispAndEvenTheWind Tue 03-Jan-17 19:59:57

In what way better, OP?

minipie Tue 03-Jan-17 23:34:38

Just that it says they can terminate my employment simply on notice, when actually they would need cause. So the contract states a position which isn't legal. But maybe I'm missing something.

Fozzleyplum Wed 04-Jan-17 00:14:15

Contracts don't recite the statutory position in relation to reasons for dismissal, with the exception of misconduct type reasons and occasional other reasons specific to the business.

minipie Wed 04-Jan-17 00:51:04

Ah ok, so does that mean this kind of clause saying employer can give notice is pretty normal? and it's interpreted as meaning "for cause"?

sorry bit of a tangent from the thread, just curious.

flowery Wed 04-Jan-17 16:24:39

It just means that if they were in a position to lawfully terminate your employment, that is the notice period they'd have to give you to do so.

You can easily give more than your contractual notice period if you like, nothing stopping you. So you could either put in your notice now, to terminate end of May, or you could just have a conversation with your boss and say that you intend to give notice to end at that point and will be doing so formally in Feb.

minipie Wed 04-Jan-17 17:06:46

Thanks flowery, that makes sense.

I've had the conversation with my boss, along the lines you suggest, saying I'm telling him now for courtesy/planning purposes, but not giving notice till later. I think I'd prefer to give notice formally in Feb rather than giving a longer notice now - just feels like it retains slightly more options for me? Not sure if there is any logic to that!

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