February Advice Column

I’ve been offered, and accepted a new job. The new company wants me to start as soon as possible but we’re really short-staffed where I am now and I don’t know how soon I’ll be allowed to leave. How should I bring all this up with my boss?

Congratulations on your new role!

It can feel awkward telling your employer you’re moving on but there are set processes in place. The time between telling your employer you’ve found a new position and you actually leaving is known as your notice period.

If you’ve been in your current job for less than one month, you won’t have to give any notice period (unless your contract says otherwise). If it’s more than a month though, you have to give at least one week’s notice.

Check what your contract says to find out how much notice you’ll be expected to give. If you don’t have a contract, and your employer has no written record of you agreeing to a notice period but you have been employed for more than a month you have to give at least one week’s notice.

Although it may be tempting to hand in your resignation as soon as possible, it’s worth waiting until your new employer has confirmed your new employment, for example by signing your contract or by giving you a start date. It’s then best to give your resignation in writing (email is fine), so that you have a record of the date you told your employer.

You can find guidance on how to do this on the Citizens Advice website, where we have a page on handing in your notice. Fixed-term contracts are a bit different, as you won’t need to give notice if you intend to leave on the last day of your contract. Leaving before the end of a fixed-term contract usually means giving at least one week’s notice, but again check your contract to see if this is different.

Don’t forget about your holiday days during your notice period. If you have any unused annual leave, speak to your employer about either taking these during the notice period or being paid back for them in your final paycheque.

Finally, sometimes people can change their mind about moving jobs or find their circumstances alter. If this happens to you, you should speak to your current employer to see what your options are and if you can stay in your current role. Everyone’s situation is different, but if you face any challenges with an existing or potential employer, contact Citizens Advice South Hams. Check our website at www.southhamscab.org.uk for ways of getting advice.


I always find the people at the Citizens Advice more than helpful. They go out of their way to deal with distressed and confused people in a compassionate and sensitive way. Citizens Advice is a wonderful service – long may it last.

John – January 2024

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