Do you know your rights when handing in your notice?

Posted July 18 2023 By Luke Traynor

Resigning from your job to move on to something new can be highly stressful and daunting, especially if this is your first time. I’ve laid out 3 main areas to expect to help you through handing in your notice.  

Before handing in your notice, you should always check your contract to understand how long you’ll need to serve and the conditions around your notice period. Your legal rights around your notice period are individual to you and your company. Your contract will also state if you need to hand in a written notice or if a verbal notice is acceptable – it’s always a good idea to wait until you have received your new job offer in writing or by email and have accepted the offer before you hand in your notice. If you are working with a recruiter to find your new job, they will always ask about your notice period; they can help you navigate when to hand in your notice.


In the UK, an employee must provide at least one week of notice if you have been in the job for more than one month. Your notice period usually runs from the start of the day after you hand in your notice. Still, you are always entitled to your regular pay rate during the notice period, including off sick, on holiday, temporarily laid off, on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, and available to work, even if your employer has nothing for you to do. In most cases, you’ll hand in your notice and work your full notice period.

However, your employer can ask you to leave immediately after handing in your notice. In these circumstances, you’re entitled to a one-off “payment in lieu of notice” (PILON) if this has been written into your contract. A PILON means you’ll still get paid for your notice period and would be instead of working out the notice period. Again, this would need to be written into your employment contract; otherwise, you have the right not to accept this and will have to work out your notice period.

Another option for an employer is to put you on gardening leave. Again you’ll not work your notice period, but you will still get the same pay and contractual benefits. PILON means your contract will be terminated immediately after you hand in your notice, but you will be paid for the work you would have done during your notice. During garden leave, your contract is still valid, and the company still employs you.

Social Issues

Handing in your notice can be stressful as you can worry about what your employer and colleagues might think. Still, it’s important to keep in mind your reasons for coming to this decision as your notice period begins.

No employer wants their employee to leave and are usually under pressure to keep you in place and will often pull out all the stops to keep you. After all, losing a good staff member is expensive to them.

The most common tactic employers will use is to counter-offer. Meaning they could offer you a better salary or new job title now that you have one foot out the door. You should remember your motivations for handing in your notice in the first place when these negotiations start. If you are working with a recruiter, telling them if your employer has given you a counter offer is always a good idea, as they can help you figure out the best move for you and possibly negotiate with your new employer even better terms.


Sometimes handing in your notice can go differently than expected, and a dispute can arise. If this happens, it’s always a good idea to start with an informal approach and try to work with your manager to reach an agreement. If this fails, the company will have a grievance procedure you should follow.

If an agreement has still not been reached, your final option is to go to an employment tribunal. A tribunal should be your last resort and only used if you believe your employer is not following the contract of employment you originally signed. Again, if you are working with a recruiter, tell them if any dispute or obstacles arise, as your recruiter is there to give you support and advice when you need it most.

If you’re looking for a new job within the accountancy and finance sector, get in touch by email. Click here to send me an email.

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