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I applied for a position a while back (in the United Kingdom) and was given it, my employer at the time told me that:

1) I will be a Junior and will be working within a team of people who would be able to help and assist me;

2) I would receive a pay review at the end of my probation (3 months) I was initially given a bad salary for the work I was required to do

The job entailed me doing development work, and, then, a new opportunity in the business came up and I was asked to do that also. Me, being stupid I naive and now was given the role of two positions.

I passed my probation period, but was given no pay rise. Just more responsibilities within the company (With my boss now giving my 3 job roles to do) and, once all of the tasks could not be carried out, I was shouted at and sometimes given talks with about my time management. I tried to explain that I am doing the work that requires three people, they agreed that they would find someone else. The person that they hired decided that they was not cut out to do the manual labour, and just expected me to do it. So, the employee hired to help me would set up around 5 or more meetings each day to assign extra work to do and also assist them in general technical problems that they was having.

At this point, I started to realise a couple of things:

  • I have not formally received a contract;
  • Since starting on the company, I have not recieved any payslips or P60;
  • When I am paid, the wages are not paid on time and over the last few months, I have incurred fines by my bank for missing payments.

I have since applied for a new job, and, I have been given the start date at the end of June (2015) which is great! The only problem is, if I give my notice in with my current employer, I am worried that they will not pay my final salary as I know from previous experience that this could happen.

Part of me wants to tell my employer that I have found another job, and, I'll be leaving at the end of this month, however, the other part of me tells me that if I do such a thing, there is a risk of not being paid the salary owed. I know by law, the employer has to pay you, but this could involve court proceedings which could be timely and costly.

So my question is this: If I have not signed a formal contract, and, there is just-cause to leave my current position at short notice, do I have to give any notice at all? (NOTE: I have not signed ANY formal contracts or documents about my employment with this company)?

  • @Myles: "P60" is a form that an employer in the United Kingdom has to fill out at the end of the tax year and give to you. It would contain what salary they paid you, what amount of taxes they paid on your behalf to the inland revenue and so on. "P45" would be a form that you receive from your employer when your employment ends. – gnasher729 Jun 20 '15 at 18:20
  • Wait, you realised only after your probation period that you did not receive a contract? That sounds crazy. – sleske Jun 24 '15 at 9:00
  • @sleske No - I thought that I would receive a contract after my probation, I was well aware that I didn't have a contract, I just thought it was normal not to get one. – Uninvited Jun 24 '15 at 17:28
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Make sure that you get your money. With an employer of this ilk, everything else like not burning bridges is secondary. Try to get references from anyone you can trust to give a honest appraisal of your performance.

I once made the mistake of giving proper notice to a management whom I totally knew was unethical. That little stunt of mine cost me the two weeks they owed me PLUS the three weeks of vacation that I hadn't taken the year before. I would have been better off starting with the next employer, collect my five weeks and phone in on the Monday that I was required to work to say that I wasn't showing up, as others who quit the firm did. If you choose to go that route, make sure to check your employment contract to make sure that you'll get away with no financial penalties.

If your employer acts like a jerk, cover yourself and do whatever it takes to cover yourself. Neither your bank nor your landlord are going to take it kindly to you coming up short and you'll be the one facing the music not your current employer. You did fair work, you are entitled to the fair pay that comes with your fair work. It's that simple.

  • Hi, than you for the reply. I have not signed a contract, and as far as I'm aware, there is no formal contract been written for me. I think I'm doing the right thing by making sure that I get paid, rather than losing money.. I already have another start date. – Uninvited Jun 19 '15 at 20:14
  • @Uninvited take the money and run. If there's no contract don't worry about the formalities, I doubt that you could use an employer like this for references anyway, especially if there isn't even a contract, but because of that they can get away with not paying you. – zfrisch Jun 19 '15 at 20:20
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    +1, one more thing I'd add is that employers who don't make payroll on time is an eminent sign that they're about to go belly up, and that you should really jump ship before that happens. – panoptical Jun 19 '15 at 20:39
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I actually agree with the course of action suggested by by Vietnhi. I just thought that as you mentioned a P60 you were probably in the UK. I think you should read this. It suggests a written signed contract doesn't have to exist for you to be contracted by this company. Looking at various sources it seems that the statutory notice period in the UK is one week.

The reason I agree with the other answer is, that the chance of a company as sketchy as you describe pursing you for breach of contract is far less than the chance they'd just not pay you if you tried to give them any form of notice.

If you want to mitigate the risk and get paid with a week to spare before starting your new job, you could choose to write a letter of resignation offering statutory notice. If they claim you're contractually obligated to work longer you should state your case firmly and leave at the end of the week. Since the link says that the notice period must be contained in a written document and you haven't received this, I imagine you'd be on firm ground legally.

  • Additionally, I would expect that their repeated, late payment could probably be used to show that it was the employer who first breached the unwritten contract. Unless there's something specifically contradicting that in the statutes somewhere. – Perkins Dec 28 '15 at 19:27
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If it's common that you receive your pay late, then there's a chance you won't receive your last paycheck before you leave anyway, even if you don't give notice. You may end up fighting to get that last paycheck in either case.

Aside from the legal issues, if you don't give notice, they may feel justified (in their own minds) in holding your last paycheck. If you give notice, they can't use that as an excuse for not paying you.

My advice would be to give a 1 week notice (in writing) and let it all play out. Then if they don't give you your last paycheck, at least you'll know you did the right thing and you won't (shouldn't) be second guessing your decision later. Perhaps the fact that you did give notice will help your case if you do have to fight for your last paycheck later.

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