Can employers hold you to notice period?

(36 Posts)
thewhitefan Wed 25-Jul-18 16:37:58

My contract states that I should give 1 weeks notice for each year worked. This means that I need to give 8 weeks notice. I have found that potential new employers are being put off by this, most expect a months notice, which seems to be standard for my sort of job. Where do I stand?

OP’s posts: |
fairgroundsnack Wed 25-Jul-18 16:41:29

The short answer is no, they can’t force you to work your notice. If you refused to do so your employer would have a claim against you for breach of contract but it is unlikely that they would try to sue you.

flowery Wed 25-Jul-18 16:46:02

In theory they could take legal action for breach of contract, but unless they could demonstrate financial loss, it’s unlikely to be worth their while.

Of course you wouldn’t then be able to rely on them for a decent reference, which is usually more of a concern than the possibility of a breach of contract claim.

thewhitefan Wed 25-Jul-18 16:48:58

Yes, my fear is that I wouldn't get a decent reference. I need a shorter notice period AND a decent reference. Not sure if that's going to be possible!

OP’s posts: |
sagasleathertrousers Wed 25-Jul-18 16:49:57

You might be able to negotiate a shorter notice if they don't really need you to work it.

Berthatydfil Wed 25-Jul-18 16:53:12

That’s mad. What if you had been in your job 20 years - you would have to give 5 months notice.

It would never be enforceable in my opinion. (Disclaimer not a legal or hr bod)

Check your contract to see if it’s not capped to a maximum like 1 week for every year up to 5 years.

nibblingandbiting Wed 25-Jul-18 17:07:30

Bertha that's what I was thinking. Many people do stay in the same company for 20 years. Imagine having to give 6 months notice haha. Madness

trinity0097 Wed 25-Jul-18 17:23:46

If I had handed my notice in at the end of April I wouldn’t have been able to leave until the middle of December (teacher in a school with a 1 term notice rule)

Many heads have 2 or 3 terms notice periods.

So long notice periods are quite common in some industries, but everyone has them so it’s not an issue!

thewhitefan Wed 25-Jul-18 19:31:52

When ex colleagues have left the business in the past, she has held them to the notice period and made it difficult for them to leave. It is all a bit daft really because I almost feel I need to hand in my notice before I am offered another job just so I am available. I will be checking my contract very carefully again.

OP’s posts: |
purplemunkey Wed 25-Jul-18 19:38:45

Some people do have 6 months notice period - normally senior management. I had a 3 month notice period at management level. You may be able to rake some notice as holiday if you've got any left. Say you have 2 months but may be able to negotatiate down (if you think you can).

ApolloandDaphne Wed 25-Jul-18 19:40:01

My DH has a very senior position and his notice period is 6 months.

Bigpizzalover Wed 25-Jul-18 19:45:14

My notice period was 4 weeks for the first 5 years then add a week for every extra year you had been there so I ended up with a 9 weeks notice period for 10 years, I spoke to HR and it was to managers discretion so I worked a weeks.

I don’t think they are allowed to give you a bad reference. As far as I was aware they could confirm the dates you worked there and whether you left, made redundant etc think the only time they can give a bad reference as such is if you have been dismissed they can state if it was misconduct/ negligence etc. But don’t hold me to that.

thewhitefan Wed 25-Jul-18 19:45:20

I'm not in a senior position though and this is why it is causing problems. Employers looking for someone on my level don't expect to be waiting more than a month.

OP’s posts: |
roropops78 Wed 25-Jul-18 19:48:46

It’s pretty standard notice and most would expect you to work it although you could agree less (and if you just leave they will just not pay you)

Just remember if it was redundancy, the longer notice would work in your favour

ginandtonicformeplease Wed 25-Jul-18 20:16:01

I had a similar problem previously, 3 months notice for a pretty junior role. I had recruitment consultants tell me that no one would take me with that notice period and I should just quit first - strangely they weren't offering to pay my mortgage if I didn't find something after quitting with nothing to go to!

At a different job, a colleague walked out on a Friday afternoon and said he wasn't coming back. Should have been three months notice. On the Tuesday morning he received a solicitor's letter saying he would be taken to court unless he returned. By Tuesday afternoon he was back in work. So although everyone always says employers never try and sue, there are companies out there that will.

I've always found that if a company really wants you they'll wait another month.

purplemunkey Wed 25-Jul-18 20:35:11

Yes yes roro, it definitely worked in my favour as I ended up taking voluntary redundancy and got 3 months pay for the notice period in addition to the rest of the package.

flowery Wed 25-Jul-18 22:00:25

”I have found that potential new employers are being put off by this“

Have you really been offered jobs and then had those offers withdrawn for the sake of having to wait an extra 3/4 weeks?! If you were talking about 6 months’ notice fair enough but it’s unusual for an employer to be so put off as to lose the preferred candidate for the sake of a few weeks.

BubblesBuddy Thu 26-Jul-18 01:01:02

Can you take any holiday owed to cut down the time?

daisychain01 Thu 26-Jul-18 05:48:27

If a company wants you enough, and if they are a good employer recognising people's obligations to their existing employer, they are not going to give you any hassle.

If they pressurise you to leave earlier than your notice period allows, I would take a dim view of them. They could be flouting employment law themselves within their organisation if they don't even recognise the most basic of employment principles, ie, don't leave an employer in the lurch by clearing off sooner than you've agreed!

Happygolucky009 Thu 26-Jul-18 06:01:49

I am an admin worker and have an 8 week notice period. My husband is in a senior role but not a manager, he has a 6month notice period. I wouldn't breach contract my contract, my employers are good and I wouldn't want to burn bridges i would try to negotiate leaving early with unpaid leave.

BoxsetsAndPopcorn Thu 26-Jul-18 08:24:23

If you want to move roles then save your holiday. Then your notice period can be shortened by that, it's what most do.

Most new employers will wait the extra few weeks if you are the right candidate for the post.

runningkeenster Thu 26-Jul-18 11:04:41

Everyone always goes on about getting a reference but presumably in most cases the reference has already been given?

If you need to give 8 weeks offer them 4 and see how it goes. They might agree on 6. Employers will wait - it's quite common for notice periods to be 3 months.

I changed a jobs a few months ago, I had a 3 month notice period and left after 7 weeks (with my employer's agreement).

runningkeenster Thu 26-Jul-18 11:05:51

At a different job, a colleague walked out on a Friday afternoon and said he wasn't coming back. Should have been three months notice. On the Tuesday morning he received a solicitor's letter saying he would be taken to court unless he returned. By Tuesday afternoon he was back in work. So although everyone always says employers never try and sue, there are companies out there that will

Or they were just trying to intimidate via the solicitors and it worked. I very much doubt that it would be in an employer's interest to sue. Much easier just to recruit someone new.

flowery Thu 26-Jul-18 11:24:47

”Everyone always goes on about getting a reference but presumably in most cases the reference has already been given?”

No, in most cases new employers don’t seek references until after the job offer has been made and notice been handed in. Unless you’re suggesting handing in 8 weeks’ notice, getting a reference and then walking out?

Besides, most people will need a reference from two previous employers, so the problem would only be kicked further down the line.

Lazypuppy Thu 26-Jul-18 13:41:31

I worked in retail and mine was the same. I had to give 9 weeks notice

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