Last week I handed in my resignation.
In my contract it stipulates that the company can terminate employment given one month's written notice and the employee given three months’ notice. My contract also states that the company reserves the right to pay me in lieu of notice.
As such, I expected to serve my 3-month notice period and then leave to join my new employer. However, two days following my resignation letter I was asked would I be okay with that day being my last day. After inquiring about pay, I was informed I would be paid until the end of the day and credited any annual leave I had remaining. Since I would be losing out on almost 3 months' pay I declined.
I did not receive a response from my employer for the entire week. Then I found out I would be able to join my new employer earlier if I were available. Thinking this would be a mutually beneficial situation for both me and my current employer I sent an email to ask if they were also in agreement, we could set a finish date for 4 weeks from now.
Two hours later I receive a phone call from my manager, this time to tell me that my last day of work would be the middle of this coming week (exactly two weeks after I handed in my notice). I was informed I would only be paid up until the last day I worked. I did not agree with this, so I asked to be put in contact with the relevant person in HR that had okayed this.
That takes us up to today. I was going to ask HR on Monday for documentation of the legal basis they have for terminating my notice period early without pay, without my consent and without prior written notification.
Is this the best approach? What else should I do?
It is also worth noting I have been with the company for over two years and I am not on a probationary period. The company is based in the UK.
EDIT: In my email I laid out all the facts and requested their legal documentation for everything. Their response was a list of the reasons they wanted to end my notice period early, misconceived as a legal basis on which they could end my notice period early. At the end they agreed to the compromise I had suggested, 1 month's pay with outstanding annual leave, rephrasing it like they were doing me a favour.
I ignored the bulk of the email and just thanked them for my time in the company, and for reaching an agreement with me. I got what I wanted because now I can start my new job ASAP. Thankfully I didn't have to threaten a lawyer in the end as they caved in the first response to my email.
Thank you to everyone that posted!