Recently I have been offered a position with a new company. I plan to submit my notice soon to leave my current job but I am unclear what my notification period will be.

I have been in my current job for three and half months. Before I started, my managing director sent me a letter with some job details which I had to sign and send back. In this letter, it states that my probation period is 3 months.

Once I started the job, I was given a contract that says my probation period is 6 months. In the section of the contract regarding termination, it states that until successful completion of probation period, the company or employee may terminate contract with one week notice but after probation period has passed, one month notice will have to be given.

I have passed the 3 month mark and because there is a difference in probation periods in letter (3 months) and contract (6 months), I am not sure which supersedes which and therefore what notice period I will have to give. Does anyone have experience or legal view of which I would need to do?

When I passed 3 month mark, there was no mention of probation period being complete. We are a small company and the managing director is out of country at moment. I would prefer to only give one week notice so I can start new job as soon as.

I work in Scotland, in the UK.

  • What country and locality (state if in the US) are you in? – CGCampbell Sep 13 '14 at 15:42
  • What is probation period to do with resignation period? Usually during the probation period it is a weeks notice. – Ed Heal Sep 13 '14 at 16:04
  • Welcome to The Workplace. Unfortunately, questions that require either a lawyer or knowledge of your specific contractual agreements aren't on topic here. Good luck in your new job. – Monica Cellio Sep 14 '14 at 3:25

Based on what you describe you can give 1 week’s notice. The contract that states 6 months being the probation period is the one that holds weight.

For what it’s worth, the standard notification period in the U.S. is two weeks. So if you want to be nice about things, you should give two weeks notice. But additionally, you giving notice and that actually adding up to a real two weeks is determined by your employer. You are ultimately a commodity to them. And if you are no longer of value to them they might just say, “Thanks for the two weeks, but you can leave in a week. Bye.” Or you might even just be asked to leave that same day. I have heard that happen a lot. If they don’t want you & do not see value in you, you are gone.

That said, if we are ultimately talking about a job that has not even lasted 4 months, my attitude is who cares. Just leave & don’t sweat bullets over this. The reasoning being is that nobody will look favorably on a position held for less than a year anyway. And if you have another gig already lined up, even less of a reason to care. Do what you feel is right to retain some goodwill towards your current employer, but be realistic: If they will not be happy with you leaving then why spend any effort making them happy? The whole goal is to retain some reference & some positive contact so if they just won’t provide or care about that move on & don’t look back.

In my experience employers truly only care about the last place you worked & the rest of the employment history is truly history.

  • err in the UK you don't get to give two week notice if the contract says 1 week its one week – Pepone Sep 14 '14 at 11:14
  • Did you miss the part where I said, “For what it’s worth, the standard notification period in the U.S. is two weeks.” It does not imply anything else. If the location that the original poster works in is not the U.S., they should act appropriately. – Giacomo1968 Sep 14 '14 at 15:35

The document you signed last is the one that is decisive.

You signed your contract last so your probation period is 6 months.
That means the notification period is 1 week, mutually.

That there is no formal mention of your probation period being complete is therefore correct (and sometimes it is not mentioned at all, the job automatically becomes 'regular').


(Edited to reflect comments)

In fact, part of the probation period is to check how good a fit you are for the company -- and that goes for you too. Deciding you made a mistake is legitimate. Better for you, and them, that you find this out before you've become essential to anything.

In the US, the convention (unless stated otherwise) is to give at least two weeks notice that you intend to quit, and spend that time time transferring your knowledge about whatever you were doing to someone else. Management may ask that you stay longer, to finish something off; that's negotiable. Again, at three months in there probably isn't a lot you need to transfer, so notice is mostly going to be so they can start contacting folks whom you beat out for the position and/or to post the position as open and start hiring again.

Sticking for one or two more weeks to ease that transition really shouldn't be a major hardship, and may be a good investment in your reputation for future engagements. ("Wasn't the right fit, but handled that better than many have; gotta respect that.")

On the other hand, if you're really going to just sit there being grumpy and useless for those weeks (with attendant risk to reputation), many companies would just as soon see you leave earlier and get off their payroll. Though that may be recorded as your having been fired rather than released.

  • Since you mentioned the probationary period, let me remind you that in "knowledge worker" professions you may have signed a non-compete clause. Depending on how close your new job is to something the company you're leaving does, there could be a legal issue in moving directly from one to the other. Odds are that your current employer won't make a fuss over it even if so, considering how short a time you worked for them, but always understand what you're signing, keep copies of it, and make sure you know what it's effects will be on your future plans. – keshlam Sep 14 '14 at 2:43
  • Except that the OP claims to have a contract which "states that until successful completion of probation period, the company or employee may terminate contract with one week notice". In this case, the probationary period does make a difference for the OP as an employee, and means that his notice period should be one week. And in practice, non-compete clauses are rarely enforceable and even more rarely enforced. – aroth Sep 14 '14 at 4:16
  • no this is an incorrect answer the notice is contractual on both sides – Pepone Sep 14 '14 at 11:15

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