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The ultimate guide to leaving your job

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

So, you’ve managed to secure a new job, which is a great start to the new year and no mean feat. Now you are working your final notice period, but do you know what your rights are when it comes to things such as your remaining holiday entitlement?

What would happen if you became ill during this period, and what about other things such as who’s entitled to the contacts and business relationships that you’ve made during your time with your current employer?

We’ve put together our top tips for leaving procedures - helping employees when leaving their roles.

What if I become ill during my notice period and can’t attend work?

Under section 8, paragraph B of the Employment Rights Act 1996: “The employer is liable to pay the employee for the part of normal working hours.” In other words, just because you’re working your notice period, your employer doesn’t have any legal right to withhold any sick pay regardless of whether they think you are genuinely sick or not.

What if I’m owed holiday?

You can ask to take any unused holiday during your notice period, but this is down to the discretion of your employer. If you are allowed to take your unused holiday time, this must be paid… but if you don’t then all is not lost. Any holiday you have accrued and not taken should be paid to you in your final salary – just watch out for any additional tax obligations.

What wages should I be expecting to get during my final notice period?

Legally, every employee working their notice period has the right to be paid in full and this should include any pension, contributions and benefits. Your employer has a few options - they can either let you leave straight away, or they will expect you to work your full notice period, in which case it’s business as usual until your last day.

In some cases, an employer will tell you not to work your notice period – this is called gardening leave. You still have the right to be paid in full, and will continue paying your usual tax and pension obligations. Just be sure to check your contract – many employers will not allow you to start working for a new employer while you’re on garden leave.

Who legally owns my contacts?

In simple terms, your employer does. Any and all contacts you have gathered and personally nurtured throughout your time with your current employer are legally ‘owned’ by your employer and cannot be taken to a new employer.

This is one of the primary reasons why some employers ask their staff to go on gardening leave, it stops the employee sourcing contacts which could be used in their new place of work - perhaps a rival company. Similarly, restrictive covenants may also be in place within the terms of your contract. These stipulate that you can’t work for a direct competitor or poach the customers of your current employer for a period of time after you leave the company.

There are a number of key considerations that you need to be aware of when working your final notice, but we’re here to advise and guide you through the process.

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