I have been offered a new job and they are keen for me to start ASAP.

I've not been at my current job very long (4.5 months) and I'm not sure how much notice to give my current employer.

It is typically 1 month's notice, but I haven't yet been given a contract.

I was emailed my job offer before starting my current role, which stated that I only had to give 1 week's notice if I wanted to leave the job during my probationary period.

My probationary period technically ended after 3 months, but I'm still waiting for my current boss to write my contract and have a 1-to-1 to review it.

Does this mean I only need to give 1 week's notice at my current job?

  • 1
    Are you just after an answer on what notice you legally need to give? Or also about how to navigate this discussion with your employer? Based on this page on ukgov and a similar page on Citizen's Advice, the only legal requirement is 1 week and anything else would be in the contract you don't have. Is that an answer or did you have a more specific question related to this situation?
    – Lilienthal
    Nov 22, 2021 at 20:59
  • Does the fact you still don't have a contract factor into your decision to leave? Or is it unrelated? Feel free to edit your post to clarify as needed.
    – Lilienthal
    Nov 22, 2021 at 21:01
  • 1
    My lack of a contract isn't a factor in me wanting to leave, but thought I could perhaps use it to my advantage. I'm wondering how to navigate the discussion aswell as my legal rights... but I'd also like to leave on good terms.
    – user128695
    Nov 22, 2021 at 21:05

1 Answer 1


In the UK, by law you have to give one week notice if you worked with the employer for up to two years, after two years it increases by one week for every year. If you have a contract, the notice period for both sides is usually longer.

If you haven't been given a contract yet, the notice period by law would apply, so one week. If you want to leave and they give you a contract with longer notice period, you don't have to accept the contract. So one week notice it is.

It's not very friendly, but you look after yourself first, and if they wanted a longer period, they shouldn't have waited 4 1/2 months to give you a contract. Normally both sides sign the contract on the first day of work. (Typically on the first day you enter the office for work, you show your evidence that you have the right to work in the UK, and then someone brings the contract, you read it carefully, then you both sign).

  • If it suits the employer, I'll bet they can turn around and fire OP and claim it is extended probation. I wouldn't over-think it and just go with 1 week and be done with it.
    – Nelson
    Nov 23, 2021 at 9:54
  • 1
    “Normally both sides sign the contract on the first day of work. ” — In my (UK) experience, you get the signed contract before accepting the job. (At least, I've always done so — and, in a couple of cases, negotiated minor changes to it.) Why would you accept a job without knowing the terms?
    – gidds
    Nov 27, 2021 at 2:13

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