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I have worked with my current employer in the UK for well over a decade and I have decided I need to leave (a point which is not up for discussion in this forum).

I've looked through my contract and all written correspondence and nowhere does it mention a minimum notice period. Not once.

I am paid an annual salary monthly, so logic dictates I should give a month's notice. HOWEVER...

Everyone who leaves is told by the personnel department that they should work a month's notice. But the personnel department consists of one individual, and there is nothing in writing regarding a notice period. When I asked (without saying why) the notice period is one month, the answer was 'because it's procedure' and when I pressed further I was politely asked to leave.

Now, I've had numerous problems with the personnel department previously (see my previous question here if you're interested in one example) and I don't want to leave on a particularly hostile note.

So I guess my question is, is there a 'standard' notice period for monthly paid employees in the UK? If there isn't, and with nothing in writing, is there anything to stop me giving two weeks notice instead? Or even to the extreme, is there anything to stop me giving notice and just walking out? Not that I would do that - I might have no respect for the personnel department or the business anymore but I do respect and value my departmental colleagues.

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    This could be a useful question but needs to be reworded with most of the personal backstory cut to be worth keeping open. – Lilienthal Jul 11 '16 at 8:16
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In the UK, there are two types of notice period; contractual, and statutory.

Contractual notice is that set in any contract. You've checked your contract, and there's nothing in there, so it won't apply. I assume you've checked your employment handbook also?

Statutory notice, if you decide to leave after you've worked at a company for more than a month, is one week. It doesn't change/get any longer based on how long you've worked there. If the company decides to make you redundant, they have to give notice of (or pay) one week for each year of service.

If you have any holiday this year accrued, take it off your notice period.

  • Thanks for the answer - though I've never heard of an employment handbook... I don't think this place is that organised! I'm going to have to see what other 'unsaid' agreements might be in place. – Lyall Jul 8 '16 at 20:40
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    'unsaid' agreements aren't worth the paper they're written on... :) – PeteCon Jul 8 '16 at 21:43
  • I don't know that I would personally take holiday off my notice period. I'm American, so maybe things are different here. I'd look into the laws about all that before deciding what to do. – BobRodes Jul 10 '16 at 9:05
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There are some UK standards, look at this:

Handing in your notice: UK Gov

It seems to suggest you must give at least one weeks notice.

I seem to remember (but IANAL) that your employer can have a standard contract of employment which can state notice period, and even if you didn't explicitly get a copy it still may apply, I'd ask at the citizen's advice for clarification. Some info on this is here:

Contract terms: UK Gov

  1. Contract terms The legal parts of a contract are known as ‘terms’. An employer should make clear which parts of a contract are legally binding.

    Contract terms could be:

    • in a written contract, or similar document like a written statement of employment
    • verbally agreed
    • in an employee handbook or on a company notice board
    • in an offer letter from the employer
    • required by law (eg an employer must pay employees at least the National Minimum Wage)
    • in collective agreements - negotiated agreements between employers and trade unions or staff associations
    • implied terms - automatically part of a contract even if they’re not written down

So they could possibly argue that as they have told you it was 4 weeks, and you've never disputed that, it's a verbal agreement.

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    Give me the good old USA, where I can (and have) told a manager to perform an anatomically impossible act, turned in my keys and walked out mid-shift. – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Jul 8 '16 at 20:31
  • For some reason I didn't even think the government would have advice on this - thank you. I'll check regarding the standard contract too. – Lyall Jul 8 '16 at 20:31
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    @RichardU - it works both ways, they have to give you notice as well, so you can't just turn up one day to find you're out the door. – The Wandering Dev Manager Jul 8 '16 at 20:34
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    @TheWanderingDevManager Your quote from Contract Terms basically means that the business can do what they want, as even if it's not written down they can claim that the agreement was implied or verbally agreed even if it wasn't (or was agreed by people who are no longer with the company), if I'm reading it correctly? – Lyall Jul 8 '16 at 20:36
  • @TheWanderingDevManager and that's happened too. But they did me a favor. – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Jul 8 '16 at 20:38

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