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Handing in Your Notice

If you're planning to resign from your job, you should make sure you know the appropriate procedures for doing so, as well as reading up on your rights so you can be certain you are not being treated unfairly.

Resignation, also known as ‘handing in your notice’, is what happens when you inform your employer that you no longer wish to work for them.

You can resign in writing or verbally, although your employer may state in your contract that you must let them know in a specific way – normally this will be in the form of a letter, and this is the usual method of resignation.

If you’ve worked for your employer for a month or more, you’ll need to give them at least a week’s notice before you leave, starting from the day after you tell them you are resigning. It’s important to note that your employment contract may specify a longer required notice period than this.

If your reason for resigning from your job is due to problems at work such as bullying, poor working conditions or any other issue that your employer could have resolved but failed to, you may have a case for constructive dismissal. Our page on constructive and wrongful dismissal has all you need to know.

Pay rights when resigning

You should be paid as usual for the time you work after handing in your notice, and this includes the pay you would usually receive if:

  • you are off work sick
  • you take annual leave
  • you are temporarily laid off
  • you go on maternity, paternity or adoption leave
  • you are available but not given any work to do

However, if you participate in strike action after handing in your notice, your employer does not have to pay you for this.

If it's permitted by your employment contract, your employer may be able to make deductions from your final wage. For example, if you use up all of your annual leave but then quit halfway through the year, they may want to recover the portion of the paid holiday you would not have been entitled to. They cannot do this if it was not agreed upon in your contract, however.

Alternatives to working through your notice period

Pay in lieu of notice

In some circumstances, your employer may ask you to leave your job immediately, rather than working through the normal notice period, in exchange for a one-off payment. This payment should amount to at least the amount you would have earned based on your basic wage for the notice period.

Your employer can only make you accept pay in lieu of notice if there is an allowance for this in your employment contract, or if you agree to it. The exact details of how it works will therefore depend on your contract or the agreement you reach - for example, if it does not state in the contract that you will only receive an amount equivalent to your basic wage, it's reasonable to expect that you will also be entitled to any benefits or bonuses you would have received.

Gardening leave

Another option that your employer has if they do not want you to work through your notice period is to place you on 'gardening leave'. This is a situation where you do not attend work but are still paid your full wage plus any benefits, as you are technically still employed.