I am in the process of looking for a new job and leave my current employer, however, I'm finding that few new companies jobs want to know because I have a 3 month notice period to give. I'm therefore wondering if there is a way out of this notice period - I have no signed employment contract, only an offer by email (which I accepted in email reply). I have been here for 18 months.

Does anyone have any advice? I'm aware I could try to 'negotiate' out of this notice period, but I was just wondering if (given the email nature of the 'contract') there were some legal/statutory things in my favour that could help me?

  • 2
    If your contract says you need to give 3 months notice, and doesn't list possible exceptions, you need to give 3 months notice (unless, possibly, you have working conditions that put your health at risk, but there may be some legal hoops to jump through in that case). Of course you can just violate the terms of your contract by choosing to stop showing up to work, if you believe the company won't try to take legal action against you and you don't need any documents or references (or a paycheck) from them. – Dukeling Oct 27 '17 at 11:30
  • Related: How can I negotiate a reduced notice period? – Dukeling Oct 27 '17 at 11:36
  • thanks all x may just hand in notice, work said notice and go freelance for a bit if nothing comes up in that time. Not ideal but there you go. thanks for your advice. – jjcreative Oct 27 '17 at 11:40
  • Perhaps talk to your current employer. They may let you go earlier – Ed Heal Oct 27 '17 at 11:50
  • How much holiday do you have saved up? – Martin York Oct 27 '17 at 17:26

It might be an idea to speak with the Citizen's Advice Bureau.

A smattering of advice on their website says:

If you haven’t discussed a notice period and you don’t have anything in writing, you should give at least 1 week’s notice.

If your employer insists you’ve agreed to longer, ask them what records they have - for example notes from a meeting where you agreed

However, you have something written in an offer letter, which may or may not be legally binding.

Take whatever documentation you have and speak to a professional. It might be the case that the offer letter is not a legal statement of a notice period.

3 months does seem a bit excessive for an 18 month terms.

  • Excellent answer. Love the reference site too. – Mister Positive Oct 27 '17 at 12:28

As you are in the UK, the way you freely entered into the contract makes no difference: you intended to create legal relations and you are bound by it. However, as commenters have noted, you are free to try to renegotiate with the employer. If you breach contract by walking out the employer may or may not choose to pursue you for loss/damages.

  • Agreed. I just feel that the best solution is to work out whether the notice period stated in an emailed offer letter is legally binding or not. – user44108 Oct 27 '17 at 11:57
  • It is legally binding. You received the offer letter and accepted its terms by doing work and getting paid. But both you and the employer are free to renegotiate and they may well choose to waive their contractual rights since it is often better to let an unhappy employee leave. (the law places some restrictions on freedom of contract in employment, mostly to protect workers who are usually the weaker party in a negotiation). – user16259 Oct 27 '17 at 13:21
  • If your in the UK employers will be used to longer notice periods especially for what are considered "professional" jobs – Neuromancer Oct 28 '17 at 14:54

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