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I am really hoping that someone can help me. Here are the facts: I have been employed by Company 'A' for 6 weeks. I was offered the job at company A by being given an 'Written Statement of Employment Particulars' by way of an offer letter. In this letter it states that my notice period is 4 weeks and my probationary period 6 months. I have now been offered a job with Company 'B'. I have handed my notice in at Company A and requested I start my notice immediately. I asked whether my notice period would be 2 weeks as I am still in probation and they have stated that I need to work the full 4 weeks.

Question: Does anyone know where I stand with this? I want to get out ASAP. Does the fact that I havent received the remainder of my contract help me? Does it mean that what I have received so far is void?

Many Thanks in advance.

closed as off-topic by scaaahu, gnat, David K, IDrinkandIKnowThings, Philip Kendall Oct 20 '15 at 9:04

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    by way of an offer letter. In this letter it states that my notice period is 4 weeks This means the notice period is 4 weeks. Period. – scaaahu Oct 18 '15 at 2:52
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    Do you have anything in writing that says your probation notice us only 2 weeks? Otherwise, the same 4 week period would apply - though it's a bit petulant of the company to force the full period, you're probably stuck. Note - IANAL – HorusKol Oct 18 '15 at 3:02
  • If your contract says 4 weeks, it's 4 weeks. On the other hand, if I had been employing you for six weeks, and you told me you wanted to leave in two weeks, it's unlikely that I would try to force you to stay. – gnasher729 Oct 18 '15 at 20:39
  • "Does the fact that I havent received the remainder of my contract help me?" No. A contract is the sum total of the agreements you have made - the "Written Statement of Employment Particulars" forms the bulk of your contract, and unless you've agreed a shorter notice period for your probationary period, it doesn't help. – user52889 Oct 19 '15 at 18:43
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You took the job with company A on the clear understanding that notice of 4 weeks was required. If they push the point, then there's nothing you can do about it.

About the only thing you can do is escalate your request for the two weeks to someone higher in the chain of command. Most bosses would allow it if for no other reason than they'd rather not have a disgruntled employee hanging around hurting morale.

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    Thanks for your answer. The question was more geared towards whether the 4 week notice is legally binding if i haven't received a full contract and if I am still within probation. – Nicola Oct 18 '15 at 10:16
  • I gathered that, but can't give legal advice sorry, so did the best I could. Hopefully someone else can help you a bit better. – Kilisi Oct 18 '15 at 11:07
  • That really depends on whether notices are legally binding in the first place. If you simply don't show up for work, would they sue you? – Nelson Oct 18 '15 at 11:51
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    @Nelson Most companies probably won't sue (lawyers are expensive) however, they can take some actions, for example, they can hold your pay check until you show up. – scaaahu Oct 18 '15 at 12:15
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    @Nicola, what makes you think that what you already agreed to isn't a valid contract? A contract doesn't have to say the word 'contract' on it. – A E Oct 18 '15 at 16:51
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I'm from the UK - this isn't legal advice, you should speak to your union rep.

What are the conditions of your probation? Usually probation means that either party can end the contract with no notice. Otherwise there's very little point in a probation period.

The Government advice says

You must give your employer 1 week’s notice if you want to leave your job and you’ve worked for them for 1 month or more.

Without seeing your contract, I think you are being overly generous. If the conditions of your probation allow you to quit with no notice, you should be able to do so.

Realistically, there isn't much they can do if you refuse to turn up after two weeks. You're unlikely to get a glowing reference from them and suing you for breach of contract is likely to cost them more than it would be worth.

tl;dr - you signed a contract, read it.

  • Nice clear answer - but the gov.uk quote needs a caveat - it only holds if your contract is silent on the matter (as the next bit of the gov.uk implies). – user52889 Oct 19 '15 at 18:48
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You can walk out i.e. leave immediately.

As your contract says you must give 4 weeks notice, this would be breach of contract, but the worst they could do would be to extract a financial penalty from you - probably an amount of pay equal to the length of the notice period. And obviously they wouldn't give you a good reference.

That would be a pretty bad plan though, you don't want to get a reputation for failing to keep your word. Anyway, I'd be surprised if employer B wouldn't allow you to work your notice - most people starting a new job do.

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    Hi All. Thanks for all of the comments. After much researching and speaking with a friend who is high up in HR, I can confirm that my 'contract' is not legally binding. Although my Offer Letter/ Contract/ Agreement in Particulars, details all of the items you would expect to see in a typical contract- Name, Position, Duties, Wage, Probation etc, There was also a section that stated references are required. Simply by having this section, my 'Offer Letter' became conditional. A conditional letter/contract, is not legally binding. Therefore only the statutory minimum of 1 week is applicable. – Nicola Oct 22 '15 at 10:24
  • I think the 4 weeks in the offer overrides the statutory minimum - unless you friend is a legal specialist in hr - most are not btw I would take their statement with a big pinch of salt – Neuromancer Jan 27 '18 at 17:50

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