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On the 26th of March I emailed my current employer stating that I wish to leave and would like to serve a notice period of a month.

I have been placed on gardening leave but not yet had confirmation of my last date of employment. I have emailed a number of times now requesting confirmation but still had no response from both the HR Department or my line manager. Is this normal?

Important info from the comments:

My contract which was signed in 2019 says 6 months but all other colleagues at the same level as me states one week for every full year which equates to one month. My current boss says he did this on purpose to “protect me” but now this will be harmful as my new employer say they can not wait 6 months. When I notified my boss I wanted to leave, he reacted angrily and said he’d “think about it” when I asked him to reduce the notice period in line with all other employees notice periods. Both he and HR are not responding to my emails regarding my notice period and I need to notify new employers


I emailed my resignation after meeting my boss face to face. Later that day my boss put me on gardening leave. I am not going to a competitor so I feel 6 months is unfair. Especially when all other employees are on one month notice


When I spoke to HR a few days before I handed in my notice they said the period was negotiable. I am not going to a competitor and do they really want to pay me 6 months gardening leave for doing nothing?

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    What does your contract or employee handbook say about the notice period ?
    – Hilmar
    Commented Apr 3 at 22:45
  • 8
    How did you determine you were placed on gardening leave? That itself seems like confirmation of your notice period. I assume you cannot just walk to the HR department and ask your question?
    – Donald
    Commented Apr 3 at 23:00
  • 2
    Is your actual question here "when is my last day?" (which it's pretty clear is 6 months from now) or something like "is there a way I can reduce my notice period?" You agreed to a 6 month notice periods so legally you don't have much of a leg to stand on here I'm afraid, however "unfair" you may now think it is. Commented Apr 4 at 8:50
  • 3
    Have you tried calling them or talking to them in person? Emails can easily land on a large backlog of other emails. Or maybe they accidentally marked is as read and didn't even see it, it got filtered out by a rule on the inbox or any other reason an email can be missed. If you need an answer quickly, you need to actually talk to them (either in person or on the phone).
    – Dnomyar96
    Commented Apr 4 at 9:43
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    @Danny - So when you joined the company, you agreed to a 6 month notice period, and you have been on gardening leave for the duration of your notice period. Lots of times different employees have different terms within their employment contract. Lots of times different positions have different notice periods. "Do they really want to pay me 6 months gardening leave for doing nothing?" - It appear that is the case, if they decide to reduce your notice to one month, that is entirely their decision at this point. By the way nobody ever said "life is fair", because, it's not fair.
    – Donald
    Commented Apr 4 at 17:21

5 Answers 5

9

Barring any further mutual agreement to shorten your notice period then it's going to be 6 months, you've made your "offer" (for want of a better word) that you think a month is suitable and now you're awaiting their counter, they might agree, they might want you on gardening leave for the full six months or they might have an alternative figure somewhere in the middle. What notice period others are on is irrelevant here, what matters is your contract. It's definitely a life lesson to consider for the future - in the UK 6 months is an extremely long notice period for roles below director level and as you're now discovering can adversely affect your job mobility so you'd be wise to consider that before agreeing to a similar one in the future.

Honestly, I don't believe there's any cause for panic just yet - you resigned on the 26th of March - in the UK there's only been 5 working days since then because of the Easter Bank Holidays, add in that it's extremely common for people to take additional days of annual leave joined on to these and it's not surprising that perhaps they simply haven't had an opportunity to discuss/consider whether your offered month's notice works for them.

9

You left out pretty crucial detail, but helpfully added it in comments so I'll bring it up:

because the company that have offered the role I have accepted will can not wait 6 months.

That's a massive oof you did there, and now are rushing everything to try to make up for your mistake. It needs to be said and understood, you should've figured out the notice period ahead of time, not only now that you got an offer from another company and then plan your life accordingly.

Now, how to actually achieve your goal, there are few ways:

  1. Already covered by other answers: get up, walk to the HR at your current job and hash it out. Could also pick up a phone and do it, but in person tends to get results faster in my experience. You can even be extremely honest with them and say "look, i got a new job that I love and wanna start asap". There's no real reason to play pretend and hide stuff.

  2. If the talking doesn't resolve it, you could simply not serve your notice and inform them that you are leaving effective immediately. People don't own people, and if you want to move on so strongly, you could take this nuclear option and simply ignore the garden leave period (though you must notify them and resolve last pay up to the day).

This of course can have consequences, especially if you then will go and work for a direct competitor; you could be sued in that case (albeit this is made much less likely with you getting put on garden leave). It's a very rare outcome, extremely rare even, but not outside the realm of possibility and I would recommend consulting with a lawyer first to understand your position (this will cost money, but not some high amount). Ultimately if you don't mind the burning of bridges and a bit of sour taste in everyone's mouth, then this will set you free fast.

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  • Thanks. I live in UK and HR is in Belgium. Never answer their phones.
    – Danny
    Commented Apr 6 at 7:35
  • Check companieshouse.gov.uk for the official address of the company in the UK. Send a letter to that address by registered mail. Three things can happen: a. They receive it. It's legally received. b. They refuse to accept it. It's legally received. c. Mail cannot be delivered to their registered mail address from the companieshouse sit. It's legally received. If they don't react, it's their problem.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Apr 11 at 12:24
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Don't (only) send anything official that you need a quick response to by email. Walk into their office, or pick up the phone. Yes, it's nan interruption, but in this case you want to interrupt.

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    Perhaps "don't send anything official that you need a quick response to only by email", but sending official things in writing is generally advisable, and often necessary.
    – Tashus
    Commented Apr 5 at 15:31
  • @tashus: Revised.
    – keshlam
    Commented Apr 5 at 16:18
  • I would walk in with an eye witness, putting down the notice in writing. Two copies and demanding they sign one copy that today they have received this in writing. Had to do that once, HR is confused but will have to sign because of the eye witness.
    – Sascha
    Commented Apr 11 at 10:04
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Write Them a Registered Letter

I don't know about Belgium, but in Germany writing a registered letter would be the only correct avenue of communication in this case. You can then save the receipt proof for future communications.

-4

Usually we do not get to pick the notice period of a work contract. Especially not when a contract is about to end.

When requesting a shorter period, but agreeing to a fixed date with a new employer, that is before the notice period a current work contract… Well, that is some problem for the new employer, who is expecting you to join at a certain date and stopping further recruitment. It may result in costs, that you are liable for (in culpa contrahendo).

Anyhow, this is a free world. Nothing will stop you from walking through the door of that new employer on your start date and not show up to work at your old workplace. But be warned, your old workplace might not find that fair.

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  • "Nothing will stop you from walking through the door of that new employer on your start date and not show up to work at your old workplace." except your contract and contract and labour laws. Not using the required notice without explicit agreement of your employer, in my country may result in a penalty that adds up to the total amount of income you would have been paid in that period + a fine + legal costs. Commented Apr 19 at 11:01
  • So if you exit after 1 month without agreement while the notice would have been 6 months will mean you may have to pay the equivalent of 5 months of salary + a fine + legal costs of both parties (exact amounts are up to a judge to determine). Commented Apr 19 at 11:04

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