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Understanding Notice Periods: How much notice should I give to leave my job?

Hello, job-seeking superheroes! Today, we're going to delve into an important topic that directly affects you: notice periods. At Recruitment Bee, we're here to guide you through understanding notice periods and their significance in your career journey. Let's explore this together!

What is a Notice Period?

A notice period is the amount of time you have to work for your employer after you resign, are dismissed, or are made redundant. It serves as a crucial period for transitioning and preparing for your next step.

How Long is the Notice Period?

The length of your notice period depends on several factors, including your length of service, the terms stated in your employment contract, and the circumstances surrounding your departure.

Notice Periods for Dismissal or Redundancy:

If you find yourself being dismissed or made redundant, you are entitled to a "statutory notice period." This is the minimum legal notice period you should receive. The length of the statutory notice period depends on your length of service:

  • If you have worked for 1 month to 2 years, the statutory notice period is 1 week.

  • If you have worked for 2 to 12 years, the statutory notice period is 1 week for each full year of employment.

  • If you have worked for 12 years or more, the statutory notice period is 12 weeks.

It's important to note that your employment contract may specify a longer notice period than the statutory minimum, but it cannot be less. Always refer to your employment contract for the exact notice period applicable to you.

Exceptions to the Statutory Notice Period:

There are exceptional circumstances where the statutory notice period may not apply to you:

  1. Gross Misconduct: If you have been dismissed for gross misconduct, you may not be entitled to the statutory notice period or any payment for it.

  2. Agreement Between You and Your Employer: In certain cases, you and your employer may mutually agree to reduce the notice period, benefiting both parties. Make sure to document any agreements in writing.

Notice When Resigning:

When you decide to resign, your written employment contract should specify the notice period you need to provide to your employer. The most common notice period is 1 week for both employer and employee during probation periods, and thereafter either 4 weeks or one month's notice, particularly if you are monthly paid. However, don't assume, always check your employment contract.

If this information is missing and you have worked for your employer for less than one month, you are not legally obligated to provide notice, but we recommend you mutually agree to allow you to depart on good terms.

Exceptions to Providing Notice:

  1. Serious Breach of Contract by Your Employer: If your employer has significantly breached your contract, you may be able to leave without providing the full notice period.

  2. Alternative Arrangement: In certain situations, you and your employer may agree on an alternative arrangement that suits both parties.

Commencement of the Notice Period:

The starting point of your notice period depends on various factors. If you are resigning, the notice period starts the day after you inform your employer. If you are being dismissed or made redundant, the notice period begins the day after your employer personally notifies you. If notice is given in writing, the notice period starts once you have had a reasonable amount of time to read it.

Not Required to Work Notice:

Instead of working the entire notice period, alternatives may be offered to you:

  1. Leaving During the Notice Period: You can request to leave before the notice period ends, but make sure to obtain a written agreement from your employer.

  2. Payment in Lieu of Notice (PILON): Your employment contract may include a clause allowing the employer to provide payment instead of requiring you to work the notice period. In such cases, the employer must provide you with full pay for the notice period. Other contractual benefits may not apply.

  3. Garden Leave: In certain situations, your employer may place you on garden leave, where you remain employed but are not required to work.

Understanding notice periods is essential for your smooth job change and ensure you are well-prepared for what lies ahead. As job explorers, it's crucial to familiarise yourself with notice periods and their implications.

Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  1. Be Aware of Your Rights: Know that you have legal entitlements when it comes to notice periods. Understanding the minimum statutory notice period based on your length of service is important for ensuring you receive fair treatment.

  2. Review Your Employment Contract: Take the time to carefully read through your employment contract, paying close attention to the section regarding notice periods. Your contract may specify a notice period that differs from the statutory minimum. Being aware of your contractual obligations will help you navigate your departure smoothly.

  3. Seek Clarity and Agreement: If you have any doubts or uncertainties about your notice period, don't hesitate to discuss it with your employer. Open and clear communication is key to reaching an agreement that works for both parties. Document any alternative arrangements in writing to avoid misunderstandings later on.

  4. Plan Ahead: Once you decide to resign, consider how much notice you need to provide and plan accordingly. Giving adequate notice shows professionalism and respect for your employer. It also allows them sufficient time to find a suitable replacement or make necessary adjustments.

  5. Leave on Good Terms: During your notice period, continue to perform your duties to the best of your ability. Maintaining a positive attitude and completing any handover tasks will leave a lasting impression and help preserve your professional relationships. Remember, your future references may depend on the way you handle your notice period.

  6. Understand Your Options: In some cases, you may have the opportunity to negotiate to leave earlier or to receive payment in lieu of working the full notice period. However, keep in mind that such arrangements should be mutually agreed upon and properly documented.


As you navigate your career journey, understanding notice periods is crucial to ensuring a smooth transition from one job to the next. Take the time to familiarise yourself with your rights, review your employment contract, and communicate openly with your employer. By following these guidelines, you can leave on good terms, maintain your professional reputation, and set the stage for a successful future.

Remember, Recruitment Bee is here to support you throughout your career exploration and job-seeking process. If you have any specific questions or concerns about notice periods, don't hesitate to reach out to us or seek advice from employment law professionals.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for general guidance only and should not be considered legal advice. Each situation may vary, so it's recommended to consult with legal professionals or employment law experts to address your specific circumstances.


  • ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service): Notice Periods

  • UK Government: Employment Contracts and Conditions

  • UK Government: Employment Rights Act 1996


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