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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I work as a Management Accountant, and in my contract of employment

Resolved Question:

I work as a Management Accountant, and in my contract of employment I have to give 2 months notice.
I have been with my employer for 1yr 6mths. In my last performance review I was given a poor rating, and was told that I would have to go on a 3 month PIP (Performance Improvement Plan), and my role would be revised from a Management Accountant to that of a Financial Accountant, as the company is reorganising its finance department.
I disputed the performance review, but my employer will not alter their rating.
The upshot is that I wish to leave, and have been offered a new position in another company, but my new employer cannot wait two months, one month at the most.
I asked my employer today if I could give a reduced amount of notice, but they said I would have to give the full two months.
It seems to be unfair that they tell me that I am not performing well, but still require me to work my full period of notice.
Please could you advise me as to what steps I can take to get a shorter notice period. I am willing to work one month, and I do not really want to just walk out.
It is very stressful, as I also believe that the PIP is just a tool to get rid of me.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Would the employer suffer any losses if you decided to leave earlier than the 2 months you need to give them?


Hi Ben,


Hi Ben, I can not think of any loss the employer might have if I give them one month notice instead of two months stated in the contract. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thanks.

Ben Jones :

Hi, if there is a written contract in place and it contains a specific clause detailing the notice period an employee is supposed to give if they wanted to leave their employment, they will be contractually bound by it. Therefore, if the employee fails to honour this notice period then they will be acting in breach of contract. The employer then has the option of suing the employee to seek compensation for damages resulting from their breach. However, in reality such claims are very rarely made. This is mainly due to the costs and time involved, also the relatively small damages that can be recovered. So whilst there is no way of predicting whether the employer will take this any further or not, chances are that they will not. A more likely outcome is that the employer refuses to provide a reference in the future or if they do, it could mention that the employee had breached their contract.

So the employer must be able to show that they have suffered losses as a result of your actions. It could be fees with getting a short-term replacement on short notice, or direct losses to the company incurred as a result of you leaving early, for example if you were doing a project, which was delayed due to your absence and it resulted in losses to the company.

It is therefore best to try and negotiate a mutually acceptable notice period that would suit both parties. However, if that is not possible and there is a pressing need to leave early, that is still a possibility, subject to the risks identified above.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you


Hi Ben, you have just told me what I have already known. Could you please let me know all the legal methods that I can use to give my employer a shorter notice period? I can not sleep, and I am very stressed and depressed in the last few weeks because the unfair treatment I received from my line manager. I am the one to suffer a lot physically and mentally and yet I am not allowed to leave a place like that sooner than my notice period. Employer can dismiss an employee immediately by paying them (in lieu of their notice period), why employees do not have the similar legal right? It looks like the law only protect the employer. What justice we can achieve with an employment law like this? I am not happy with your answers. sorry.


Ben I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thanks.

Ben Jones :

There is no legal method to give them a shorter notice period - the contract is legally binding and so would be the terms within it. The only way to get a shorter notice period is to agree it with the employer - sadly I cannot tell you of something that does not actually exist. If you do not get the employer to agree to a shorter notice period then you will be acting in breach of contract. I appreciate you may not be happy with the answer because it is not the outcome you were hoping for but that does not mean it is incorrect - as mentioned I cannot make things up in law that do not exist and sometimes that will mean delivering disappointing news


ACAS advised me that I can take the Grievance approach because I believe I have been treated very unfairly by my line manager ( I work very hard and very diligently and get all the tasks done, but still receive a poor rating, and he indicated his intention of firing me.) Is there any disadvantage by going down this route? (will it make me look bad for my future employer?). I promise this will be the last question in relation to my notice period. Thanks.

Ben Jones :

not really any disadvantages in doing this - it is your legal right to raise a grievance if you wanted to but there is certainly no guarantee that anything will change as a result and you could still be required to work through your full notice period. This is not something that is going to affect future employment and it won't really be mentioned in any reference either, it does not happen. But remember that no one can force you to work the full notice period and the worst that could happen is they sue you for any losses they claim to have suffered as a result, but they will have to show this was the case and it happens very rarely so the risks of it happening are rather low.

Hope this clarifies things for you now?

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