How to Hand in Your Notice at Work

If you wish to leave your current job, you will be required to give notice to your current employer. Giving notice advises your employer of your intention to terminate your contract of employment.

How much Notice to Give?

One of the first stages of giving in your notice is to work out how much notice you are required to give. Failing to give your employer enough notice (or giving notice in the incorrect format) may be considered to be a breach of contract and the employer could take you to court if they wanted to.

If you have been in your current role for more than one month, then you are legally required to give at least one week's notice by UK law. Your individual employment contract may state that you are required to give more notice than this. If the notice period stated on the employment contract is higher than 1 week, then you will be required to give the stated notice period, unless it can be proven that the amount of notice required is an unfair contract term. You will also be required to give your notice in the format that is agreed upon in the contract. This should state whether you need to give written or verbal notice. You cannot give verbal notice if your employment contract states that your employer requires written notice.

Think Carefully

Make sure that you think carefully about your options before you decide to hand in your notice, and never give verbal notice in the middle of an argument. If you change your mind and decide that you do not want to leave, it is at your employer's discretion as to whether they will allow you to stay.

You should also think about whether you may be open to a counteroffer. Some employers will be prepared to negotiate with good staff members to try to stop them from leaving. If you know what you would be prepared to accept, then you will be ready for the negotiation process if anything is offered to you.

Set out Your Resignation Clearly

When you hand in your notice, make sure that the details of your resignation are clear. Set out your notice period (as you understand it from your contract) in the letter and state the last date that you expect to work for the company. The company may wish to dispute this or change this if there is an issue, but if they do not challenge this date then you should hold that date as the one that has been agreed upon.

Keep the letter concise and clear, so that it cannot be misinterpreted. If you are giving notice in a written format it is best to include a postal address with the letter, in case they need to send you any additional written communications. Always keep a copy of any letters that you send to your employer, so that you can refer back to them again if you need to.

Maintain Relationships

When you are leaving a role, it is important that you try to maintain any good relationships that you have built, as you may be required to draw on these relationships in future. The way that you act when you give in your notice can affect these relationships. Meeting with your manager in person to deliver your notice is more polite than leaving it on their desk or emailing them it without warning. This meeting will also give you the chance to thank them for the opportunities that they gave you as part of your role.

If possible, try not to leave your job near to the climax of a big project. Alternatively, make sure that you are able to set out any work which needs to be handed over, so that those who are covering you can pick it up easily. If you regularly work with external clients as part of your role, it is also common courtesy to let them know that you are leaving and to advise them about how to interact with your company in future.

Exit Interview

Many employees will be required to do an exit interview after they have handed in their notice. This interview will seek to establish a few facts about your time in the role and why you intend to leave your position. You do not have to tell your employer why you are leaving if you don't want to, but many employers will ask because it can help them to improve employee retention in future. You may offer constructive criticism during this interview, however it is better to stay clear of a full on attack about the company. Remember that you might need to ask this employer for a reference in future, so it is best to avoid upsetting them unless you have to.