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In today’s commercial and political environment, employee job security and retention is of quintessential importance to businesses of all sizes across all industries.

One of the ways in which companies can assure and maintain a standard level of security is through various formalities and protocols such as the requirement of a resignation notice.

But can an employee choose to resign without one? This article focuses on the legal veracity of resigning without notice and the potential claims that may be brought by the company if this takes place.



Can an employee resign their job without notice?

Under certain circumstances, an employee is not legally required to give any notice before resigning from his or her term of employment. However, the first step in initiating such a procedure would be to thoroughly check and clarify whether the employment contract in question stipulates a mandatory notice period that is required in order to resign.

If there is no relevant clause or condition within the contract requiring the employee to provide any notice of resignation and they have been working for their employer for less than a month, they will technically not need to give notice. Conversely, if they have been working for their employer for more than one month, they must give at least one week’s notice.

It is worth noting that if the employee chooses to leave the company without notice and without first agreeing with their employer the terms of their resignation, the employee could be held liable for a breach of contract and could be fined in the employment tribunal to compensate for any extra costs suffered by their employer as a result of their absence without notice.


How should an employee notify their employer of resignation?

When resigning, it is always ideal to have your notice evidenced in writing so that there is no question about when you made your employer aware of your intention to leave the company. At its most basic level, a notice of resignation, whether it be physically written or emailed, should include both the date of your last working day at the relevant company, as well as how much notice you are providing to your employer.

The duration specified within your notice can be longer than that which is stipulated as necessary within your contract when resigning; this does not warrant your employer from dismissing you early.

If your employer does attempt to dismiss you from the company at an earlier date, you would be able to make a claim for unfair dismissal, as your employer would technically be at a breach of contract.

In this case, it is common for employers to simply pay out the remaining notice period as if it had been worked. Moreover, as a rule of thumb, notice periods begin the day after you send this resignation notice.

Alternatively, if you do not have a written contract of employment stipulating any notice periods and you have been working for more than one month, you should give at least one week’s notice of your resignation.


Can I give less than a weeks notice ?

If you are resigning and will be giving less notice than is expected, it is first necessary to speak directly with your employer to see if they will agree to reduce your notice period. In doing so, you may also want to mention that leaving the company early will not cause a great amount of inconvenience or be an especially arduous task for your employer.

You can do this by assuring them that all necessary urgent work will be  finished before you leave and that you will not need to be compensated for the days that you are no longer in the office.

It is always ideal to reach an agreement with your employer about leaving without working at least part of your notice in order to avoid any liabilities or court actions that may arise in looking for a new employee on a short-term contract.


Closing Thoughts

It may technically be possible for an employee to resign and leave their company early without giving any notice if no such clause or term in their employment contract stipulates a need for one.

However, it is common practice in today’s rapidly changing commercial environment to provide at least one week’s notice of resignation if the employee has been working at the company for longer than one month.

If no such notice is given and the employer is placed in a particularly arduous position in order to maintain its smooth operations, a claim for breach of contract may be brought to the court and compensation for extra costs may be incurred.

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