I find myself in an odd, but lucky situation:

The company I currently work for looks like it's going down, we'll know in a week whether we'll have a job or not. I handed in my resignation notice the day before we found this out and have a new job lined up in a months time.

We may or may not get paid for the next week and if we don't have a job then that's one month with no pay.

I'm considering telling the new company about my situation to see if they can start me earlier, but on the other hand this might affect my reference with the current company.

Do you think it is reasonable to do this and just leave without working my notice period, even though the company might not be around for my full notice period anyway?

  • 9
    Don't break your contract, as your current company also should not break theirs (meaning: work your full notice period, but also expect to be paid for weeks where you did in fact work).
    – skymningen
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 8:53
  • 4
    In the UK I would assume your notice period is legally or contractually defined. Rumours of financial trouble wouldn't absolve you from that. Why don't you just tell the new company "I may be able to reduce my notice period, would you be open to moving up my start date and if so, how much notice would you need?"
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 9:18
  • "as your current company also should not break theirs" that was a joke right, Sky? If so - it's hilarious!
    – Fattie
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 11:47
  • 8
    "we'll know in a week whether we'll have a job or not" - I would wait until you have been told definitively before you approach your new employer about starting early.
    – David K
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 12:21
  • 2
    IANAL, but, if you are not being paid, is not the company already in breach of contract? Is there something about you employment contract which states you need to continue to work for and give a notice period to a company which is not paying you?
    – dlb
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 15:12

2 Answers 2


I'd strongly advise you not to disclose confidential information to your new employer. It may not even be true, but it is certainly sensitive.

However, as soon as you get the news officially, by all means contact the new employer and ask the question. They might be more than willing to bring you in early.

Indeed you might simply be able to say "I may be able to be released early; would you be interested in bringing my start date forwards, if I can arrange that?" without disclosing any confidential information. If the new company are amenable, there is little to be lost in approaching your current boss – "Would you be willing to release me earlier than my official end date?" – and seeing what happens.

In the UK, there are rules about redundancy, so it is possible you will get some money eventually, even if only from the government-funded scheme. This is what happened to my wife under similar circumstances. Of course this doesn't help you in the short term.

If you don't have savings sufficient to bridge the gap, go and see the people in the Job Centre to talk about unemployment benefits and short-term assistance they have available.

Having a new job already lined up, you are already miles ahead of your colleagues.

  • 1
    Redundancy will only apply if the company ceases trading during OP's notice period. If they announce a wind-down that finishes after OP's notice, then OP gets nought.
    – JohnHC
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 9:13
  • 2
    True, but if they don't close down, then he still has a job. My main point that he should avoid sharing confidential information still stands. Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 9:44
  • I think however that going to the new company and saying "I may be able to start early, would that work for you?" would be OK, as long as no reason is given. New company will probably assume he is going to be given gardening leave. Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 16:09

You are in the UK. If you are laid off, you are possibly entitled to some compensation. Depends mostly on how long you worked there and some other factors. You can read on government websites what you are entitled to, and good companies will often pay you significantly more. Obviously if you resign you will not get any of that. (I met people who resigned a week before layoffs were announced, and were kicking themselves).

On the other hand, if the company goes under and has no money, then you might not get anything. And your legal entitlement might not be very much.

So before you resign, figure that out first. If you expect layoffs next week, you might not want to resign today, it might cost you significant money.

On the other hand, if they cannot pay, then they should be happy if you resign, and if you suggest a shorter or no notice period, then they might very well agree to that which would solve your problem. I think the first thing would be a gentle enquiry to the new company whether starting earlier is possible (answer might be anything from "impossible" to "yes please you could start tomorrow"), and then you go back to the old company depending on your answer.

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