Do You Have to Work Your Notice? Detailed Guide

do you have to work your notice
Photo by Angela Roma

Do you have any questions on why you have to work your notice, even in redundancy? Before you put pen to paper, read your employment contract to discover how much notice you must legally provide. You do not want to be in a situation where you have agreed to work for your new employer in four weeks only to discover that your contract requires a three-month notice period.

In this article, we will break down the meaning of a notice period, situations where you do not have to work your notice, how to determine your notice period and what the payment during the notice period looks like.

What Exactly is a Notice Period?

A notice period is the amount of time that you have to work for your company after resigning, being fired, or being in redundancy. The amount of notice your employee must provide is determined by:

  • How long have they been with your company?
  • What is written in their job contract?
  • whether your person resigns, is fired, or is made redundant

Typically, it can range from one week to one month’s notice. However, if your employee has only worked for you for less than a month, no notice is required unless indicated otherwise in their contract, and if they have worked for you for more than a month, they must work a one-week or longer notice period based on their contract.

Do You Have to Work Throughout Your Notice Period?

Let’s begin by setting the stage. You’ve had enough, you’ve finished your work for the day, and you have no plans to return in the morning. You’ve read your contract and discovered you have a six-month notice period, and you’re wondering, “Do you have to work your period?”

A notice period is a legal stipulation in your contract, and failing to work your notice period is a breach of your contract that could leave you open to a lawsuit. However, pursuing legal action against you is costly for the company, and they can utilise the pay they wouldn’t owe you to offset any losses.

They may still be able to prove damages as a result of you leaving without notice, and so could file a lawsuit against you. While the length of notice required by your contract may be apparent, you may be confused about whether this notice is still applicable due to a variety of factors that may alter your situation.

Factors That May Affect Your Notice Period

We’ve described various contract statuses that may affect your notice period and how to deal with them below.

#1. Probation

Probationary periods vary by function; some are as brief as three months, while others can last six months or longer. This includes any probation extensions your company may provide you. If you’re on probation, the quantity of notice you’d submit is likely to be less than what you’d provide after probation is completed. If your employer has yet to specify a notice period and you have been in the position for less than a month, you are not required to offer notice. After a month, it is recommended to submit at least the statutory minimum notice, which is one week.

#2. Contracts are Available for Both Full-time and Part-time Work

It makes little difference whether you are a full-time or part-time employee; your notice period will normally be specified in your contract. If not, it’s best to always offer the statutory minimum of one week’s notice. It’s also a professional courtesy that can keep your interactions with managers friendly if you provide at least some notice, even if it’s not explicitly stated in your contract.

How to Determine the Duration of Your Notice Period

When determining the length of your notice, numerous factors must be considered. If you’ve been at your employment for longer than a month, the statutory minimum notice time is at least a week. When making your decision, follow these steps:

#1. Examine Any Contracts you Signed at the start of your Job

If you signed a contract, it may include information concerning your notice period. When planning your resignation, it may be helpful to first review your employment contract and use it as a guideline before deciding on your next steps.

#2. Consider How Long You’ve Been with Your Current Employer

If you’ve been with your company for more than one month but less than two years, it’s customary to give at least one week’s notice. Even if you’ve just been with your firm for a few months, consider providing two weeks’ notice.

This gives your employer time to prepare to fill your position. If you’ve been with your firm for more than two years, give at least two weeks’ notice. If you know your company’s hiring process is lengthy, it’s not uncommon to give a month’s notice.

#3. Inform Your Employer of any Previously Scheduled Time Off

If you have already scheduled vacation time, notify your employer that you will not be returning to work after your vacation. Most employers prefer that you use all of your annual leave before your last day. You can request to use any unused annual leave during your notice period, but your employer will decide whether or not you can.

#4. Provide Resources to Make the Transition Easier After You Leave

Consider how much time you should give your boss if you know some of your coworkers are going on vacation or taking parental leave soon. If several people are absent from the office at the same time, there may be gaps in the workflow, and projects may fall behind schedule. By helping your employer bridge any gaps, you should be able to keep a good relationship with them after you leave. This can be useful if you need references in the future.

#5. Complete any Unfinished Projects

The length of the notice period you give also depends on your outstanding work. Consider how long it takes to train and pass off any unfinished work to a colleague or new employee. You may be working on a big project and, in some cases, possess unique knowledge or skills the project requires.

#6. Consider What Time of Year You’re Planning to Resign

Many businesses operate around the fiscal calendar to determine when to wrap up projects and set new goals for the following year. If you’re considering giving your notice of resignation, factor in the financial year calendar.

#7. Explain to Your Employer Why You’re Resigning

Consider whether you are departing because of another job you’ve already acquired, to branch out as a contractor or to take some time off work. Your career ambitions might help you select the duration of your notice period. Balance the needs of your next job with those of your current one.

#8. Review Any Notice Period Restrictions in Your Job Conditions

Determine whether your position description throughout the application process had a notice period in the job application or in any documents you signed to begin your employment. Make sure you review anything you agreed to on paper before notifying your employer of your departure.

What Happens if I Don’t Work My Notice Period?

Leaving a job isn’t always easy, especially if you have to work through your notice, and there are a variety of reasons why you might be hesitant to do so. However, before making any hasty judgements, we recommend that you consult with your manager.

In rare situations, you may be able to reach an arrangement with your employer to quit earlier than your contract allows. Alternatively, changes may be made to make your remaining time at the company more pleasant, such as working from home.

The possibility that your employer may take action against you for failing to work your notice period is usually determined by your level of seniority and the importance your employment offers to the company. The more senior you are, the more likely they will act. If you leave to work for a competitor, your employer may be more inclined to file a lawsuit against you.

Situations Where You Do Not Have to Work Your Notice

As an employee, you might be wondering why you always have to work your period, even in redundancy but there are situations where you might not be required to do it.

You may not have to work your notice period for two reasons:

#1. Payment In lieu of notice

If your employment contract contains a “payment in lieu of notice” provision, you might not be required to work your notice period. If your contract contains a PILON clause, you may be entitled to remuneration rather than working your notice. This means you would stop working immediately after giving your resignation notice.

#2. Gardening Leave

Gardening leave is when you are instructed not to come to work during your notice period but are still paid. After you give in your notice, your employer may decide that it is better to put you on garden leave. This is frequently due to the fear that you may have access to sensitive information that could be used in your new work.

Contractual Notice Periods vs. Statutory Notice Periods

For the statutory notice period, if an employee has been with you for at least one month and wishes to resign, the required notice period is one business week. This is also true for employees who are on probation. For example, if someone gives you one week’s notice on a Monday, the final day of that one week is the following Monday.

A contractual notice time, on the other hand, is at the employer’s discretion—as long as you have provided your employees with employment contracts outlining the notice period. If the amount of notice necessary is not specified in their employment contract, they must work a statutory notice period.

As a result, many businesses include notice time restrictions in their contracts. It’s crucial to note that even if your employee does not sign their contract, they must still follow the notice time specified in their contract.

Payment During Your Notice Period

You are entitled to your standard pay rate during your notice period. You are also entitled to sick and holiday pay. If you are on paternity, maternity or adoption leave, you are still entitled to normal pay during this period. Even if your employer has nothing for you to do once you have given in your notice, you are still entitled to be paid as usual.

An employer may ask you to depart immediately after you hand in your resignation letter and, in return, grant you a one-off payment. This is known as ‘payment in lieu,’ and it may be specified in your contract. If it is not, you have the option of accepting it or continuing to work during your notice period as usual.

Similarly, ‘gardening leave’ is when your boss instructs you not to come to work but still pays you. This is especially prevalent in the finance and technological industries.

Is it possible For Me to Leave Immediately?

If an employee resigns without notice, you have two alternatives as an employer: accept their departure with immediate effect or seek to enforce any required notice period.

Is it Okay If I Call in Sick During my Notice Period?

Yes, an employee can take sick leave while on notice. This is true whether they are departing on their own or as a result of a redundancy. The length of their service with their employer determines whether or not they will be paid in full throughout their notice period.

If the situation occurs lately, it is usually advisable to keep working while trying to convince your employer to pay you. If you refuse to work, you may be in breach of your contract, and your employer may fire you.

Can I Resume Working again while on Sick Leave?

Check your employment contract to see what it says regarding sick leave and whether you can work another job while signing off. If your contract states that you cannot, your company may pursue disciplinary action against you if you violate it.

Is it Criminal in the UK not to obtain a Payslip?

Your employer is required to furnish you with a payslip. They are not required to do this if you are not an employee or “worker,” such as a contractor or freelancer in the police force.


When you see yourself in redundancy, you should work your notice period, and you have to do it without failure. In most situations, it’s unavoidable to do your notice. That’s why you have to learn how to do your notice.

When you are in redundancy pay, your employer will have to either pay you through your notice period or pay you in lieu of notice depending on the circumstances surrounding your work, and that’s why every worker needs to know their notice period and how to work their notice.


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