I recently handed in my notice after accepting a job offer from a competitor for a significant pay rise (although that wasn't my only reason for leaving). The notice period at my current place of employment is four weeks.

Although I have always been frugal and saved a lot of money, my family recently experienced an emergency, so I am currently living paycheck to paycheck (emergency ate up my savings).

I am due to get paid on Tuesday and am my last day of work is Wednesday.

I'm not sure if I'm just being paranoid, but I have a thought in the back of my mind that I won't get paid on Tuesday as my employer did not take my leaving very well.

By Wednesday, I will have worked my full notice period. If I don't get paid, I may potentially be in some financial trouble. Here are my questions:

  1. Is my current employer legally obliged to pay me for my work during my notice period?
  2. What action can I take if he doesn't pay me? Tribunal, Citizen's Advice, etc? Is this a complicated process? Will it cost me anything? How long will it take to get paid?
  3. I know this is a tricky one as you don't know the chap personally, but from a business point of view, do you think he will pay me?
  4. This one is slightly off-topic, but I have only taken three days of holiday this year. Is he obligated to pay me for the statutory holiday I haven't used?

EDIT: Thought of another question:

  1. If he doesn't pay me, what would be the legal implications if I threatened him (to poach his clients, for example)? Is this a bad idea?
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    These are all legal questions specific to UK labor laws. Here in the US we have something called "legal aid", which provides free legal advice to those who can not pay for those services. If there is an equivalent in the UK, I strongly suggest you talk to them and ask these questions. Having said that, an employer holding back pay as a retaliation to you leaving, stinks illegal to high heavens but again the labor laws change from one country to another. Here in the US they wouldn't dare doing anything remotely close to that.
    – MelBurslan
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 21:29
  • If they did not dismiss and you worked then you should be paid. The safe be would have been to use holidays first of as part of the notice.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 21:38

2 Answers 2


Your employer absolutely must be you for every day you worked, up to and includng your leaving day, plus in the UK payment for any holiday that you haven't taken, minus payment for any holiday that you have taken beyond what was due to you. (Say you have 24 holidays a year, and you worked for three months earning six days paid leave, if you took 2 days off they owe you four days, if you took 10 days off you owe them four days).

I think the payment date is not when your job ends, but the normal date when everyone else gets paid. So if everyone gets paid on 30th of June, and you leave on the 20th, they only have to pay you on the 30th (I think) like everyone else, but they have to pay for the 20 days.

From a business point of view, he will pay, because if he doesn't, you take him to court and he'll pay your wages plus all the cost involved.

"If he doesn't pay me, what would be the legal implications if I threatened him (to poach his clients, for example)? Is this a bad idea?" Absolutely yes. Very bad idea. Don't do it. Two wrongs don't make a right.

"If your contract gives you at least one week's notice more than the law gives you, you lose your legal right to be paid during the whole of the notice period." That's only when you don't work. If you work, you must be paid.

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    Thanks very much for your reply. That's the answer I was looking for!
    – user53055
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 22:30
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    Additionally - since pay day is a Tuesday, and your final day is the Wednesday, you are still due the pay for Wednesday (plus any leave you have left). Ideally, your employer will just put all that into the Tuesday pay slip - or you will get an additional payslip with the Wednesday + leave.
    – HorusKol
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 23:39

Yes they are obliged to pay you.

If they don't go to your citizens advice bureau for further advice. Not from the UK but I believe citizens advice bureau is free and (relatively) quick. Though if you are living paycheck to paycheck likely not fast enough to avoid feeling some pinch.

It would take a super shady employer to try to deny you pay for weeks of work. Is your boss super shady?

I don't know about vacation payout in the UK but I would suggest consulting your contract to see if this is specified there.

It would be a bad idea to threaten underhandedness towards him. This makes you look bad when it comes out if you end up going to arbitration for withheld wages.

  • Thanks for the advice, that's what I suspected. Looks like I have to pay for Citizen's Advice though, a fee of £400 in total which I can't afford. They may do it for free if I can prove I can't afford it however. Will look into it, thanks again Myles!
    – user53055
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 21:56
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    AFAIK Citizens Advice will give you advice for free. Why do you think you would have to pay £400? (For what?) Anyway, their website answers your question exactly: citizensadvice.org.uk/work/rights-at-work/… (The answer is exactly as @Myles said: yes they have to pay you.)
    – djr
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 22:18
  • @djr Sorry, I confused it with making a claim. However, now I'm slightly more concerned - that page states that "If your contract gives you at least one week's notice more than the law gives you, you lose your legal right to be paid during the whole of the notice period." – my notice period is four weeks - more than the law requires. Does this mean I'm not entitled? Apologies for any ignorance.
    – user53055
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 22:22
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    You're like someone who reads a medical dictionary and thinks they have every illness. OF COURSE you get paid during your notice period. Slavery was banned hundreds of years ago. That quote is about the amount of notice your employer must give you in the event of dismissal. Totally irrelevant here. Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 22:33
  • @TheMathemagician haha, thanks a lot - very much what I needed to hear! In my defence, it's hard not to be paranoid when it's the livelihood of my family on the line!
    – user53055
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 22:35

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