Have you followed the correct procedure for ending one employment contract and taking up a new one?

If you’re starting a new job in January, you’re not alone. The number of British people looking for a new job soared by 64% last January compared with the rest of the year according to Indeed. If/when you decide to accept a new role there are a few steps you need to take to correctly cut ties with your current employer, and some documents that your new employer is legally obliged to provide to you.

Giving Notice

Even if your current employer knows you intend to leave, you must formally tell them that you will be resigning from your job and agree your final day of work. Your employment contract will stipulate the minimum amount of notice that you are required to give to your employer and this is often around one month. If your contract of employment does not state your notice period and you have worked for your current employer for longer than one month then, as a legal minimum, you should give one weeks’ notice.

Alternatively, you may wish to agree a longer notice period with your employer to help out over a busy period or in order to wrap up current projects you are working on.

Working Your Notice, Gardening Leave, Or Pay In Lieu Of Notice

You will likely be asked to work your notice period; however, your employer may alternatively decide to put you on Gardening leave or give you pay in lieu of Notice.

If your job involves access to sensitive business data you may be asked to take Gardening leave. This is where you are still employed by the company until your notice period has elapsed, and you will be paid for this period, but you are not required to attend the office. You may not do any work for your new employer during this time.

If the company has adequate cover and does not need you to work your notice period they may terminate your employment immediately and pay you the equivalent of your notice pay - this is called Pay in lieu of notice. Under these circumstances your employment contract with your new employer can start straight away.

Final Pay And Your P45

Specifically, in recruitment, final pay can trip people up. In short, you should continue to receive your usual salary and benefits when you are working your notice or on Gardening leave. This includes the benefits from your employment contract such as commission and you will still accrue holiday. Deductions from your final pay should not be unreasonably made, and any deductions should be outlined in your employment contract in order to be legal. If some deductions have been made that you did not agree to then you may take your case to an employment tribunal.

Once you have received your final payslip, your employer is obliged to provide you with a P45 which contains your leaving details including tax information.

Offer Letter And Contract Of Employment

After you have interviewed with your prospective new employer, if they want to make an offer of permanent employment to you they should provide you with an offer letter. This should contain details of your start date, job title and salary but may also contain details of additional benefits.

Your new employer may not provide you with a formal contract of employment for up to two months’ after your start date.  If two months’ has elapsed and you have still not received your contract then you can bring a claim to employment tribunal at which time you may be compensated for the delay.


At TBOS we can help Recruitment Agencies with their back office for permanent staff and internal employees. For more information, you can call us on 0845 881 1112.

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