My company grad scheme requires that if you leave within the first year you have to pay them back any bonuses you’ve received. This is a few thousand for me.

They also require a months notice period.

I am not leaving yet, But I am thinking about it. I was wondering, can I give notice after 11 months and not have to pay back the bonuses? Does anyone have experience of this situation, am I better waiting the full 12 before I think of leaving?


The only one who can truly give you the answer is your company. Companies will have different rules on whether it's classed as 11 months or 12 months.

If you don't want to ask and give it away that you're planning on leaving I would personally just wait the extra month if there is no specific reason you plan on leaving or if the reason is not urgent.

For the sake of a month, I'd much rather secure that few thousand in bonuses rather than risk them, especially since you say you're "thinking" about it. Therefore not for definite.

  • I’m 100% I want to leave, I’m just only 9 months in :( I can deal with an extra month or ask around 11 month mark I guess? It is worded so vaguely I wanted to see if anyone else has experience of a similar scenario – user105349 Jun 3 '19 at 8:32
  • @user105349 Twyxz's answer here covers most of what I would say, but I wanted to add in one more consideration. For instance, it is possible that putting in 1 month notice at 11 months may give you 12 months of employment and therefore you get to keep your bonus. However, your company may also realize that and decide to fire you immediately instead of letting you work that last month. Depending on your contract and location that may be perfectly within their rights. You need to read your contract carefully, but you should probably assume you need to wait 12 months if you want the bonus. – Conor Mancone Jun 3 '19 at 13:03
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    @ConorMancone On top of that, the company could also just say "We don't require you so you don't need to fill your notice" and then let you go at 11 months again – Twyxz Jun 3 '19 at 13:26
  • @Twyxz Random anecdote: my boss is "different" in a way that operates against the typical advice on this forum. The couple times I've seen employees announce their desire to leave well before hand, he's let them stick around for months, do interviews during working hours without problem (came out of their PTO of course), etc. However, the couple employees I saw give their notice having applied for jobs "on the DL" were immediately let go. For the OP: especially if you are in a US "right to work" state, you can put in your notice but your employer is not obligated to let you stay for it. – Conor Mancone Jun 3 '19 at 13:36
  • I am in the U.K., I don’t know if this changed things. It says I would have to work my full notice period unless I am dismissed for gross misconduct? – user105349 Jun 3 '19 at 13:46

This is very company specific - check your agreement.

In general, if the terms are "cannot leave before one year", and you are required to give one month's notice, then filing your notice after completion of 11th. month should be acceptable.

However, the best way out would be to talk to HR, once you are ready.

  • If the 11 month work + 1 month notice is applicable - go for it.
  • If the scheme is 12 months of work + 1 month of notice period, over and above - hold your plans for the rest of the final month.

Point to remember - Make sure you start the discussion with HR once you have another job offer secured. Also, make sure the new offer considers the worst case scenario - allows you to join after the 1 month notice period, after completing 12 months.

If you're not sure / confirmed - I'll advise to take the safe route. Wait for 12 months and then hand out your notice.

  • The contract is pretty vague. It says if I leave work by any reason other than redundancy within twelve months, but this doesn’t say anything about if the notice period impacts this. I don’t want to ask and them have to pay them thousands back because I’ve asked about leaving too early. – user105349 Jun 3 '19 at 9:00
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    @user105349 Leaving the company means you're no longer employed there. Giving your notice at 11 months runs the risk that the company will show you the door on the spot or just before you reach 12. If your contract allows them to do that, you'll be repaying your bonuses. Take Sourav's advice and don't tip your hand until the contractual terms have been met. – Blrfl Jun 3 '19 at 12:04
  • @Blrfl most of the time, "being fired" doesn't require you to pay back bonuses and such. But it does indeed depend on the contract. – Erik Jun 3 '19 at 13:26

Check your contract to find out at what point you can legally give notice and get your bonus. The contract might say that the bonus is only paid if you are still employed at the payment date, which may be months later.

Outside legalities, the company can just not pay a bonus, which means you either get nothing or have to go to court. You can be reasonably sure only when the money is in your bank account. Whoever has the money is in a much stronger position. That works both ways; if the company pays bonuses every year in the 1st of July, the money is in your bank and the company will find it hard to get it back.

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    I have already been paid the bonus. It would mean I have to return the bonuses I’ve been paid. The contract is so fuzzy in the wording “if I leave within twelve months” but it doesn’t mention this in relation to the notice period- it’s mentioned way further down in the contract and doesn’t have any info on how it impacts this bonus pay back – user105349 Jun 3 '19 at 8:58

It all depends on the exact language of the agreements between you and your company.

Ina addition to your required notice period, You also have to consider their obligation to you when you give your one month notice. In some situations they are bound by contract to pay you for the month even if they have you stay home. But if they are not bound by law, or by contract, or by corporate policy to keep you on the payroll they may decide to accept your resignation and immediately terminate your employment. That could leave you short the 12 months.

I have experienced co-workers who were terminated the day they turned in their paperwork because the company was already looking for ways to reduce payroll.

With thousands of dollars at risk, one shouldn't want to test the system without solid understanding of the legal issues.

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