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Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6263
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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I have question regarding leaving my employer. I have received

Customer Question

I have question regarding leaving my employer. I have received a sign-on when joining. The accompanying contract has the following clause: "In the event that you notify (the employer) that you wish to terminate your employment within a Reasonable Period, here defined as twelve months, you may be required to repay this amount in full on demand." i started 9 months ago and have a one month notice period. I understand that I can announce my resignation today, with a leaving date in 3 months and thus keep the sign-on given I have worked here for 12months. Can you confirm that view?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
Hello and welcome to Just Answer so do you plan to work the full 12 months to retain the sign on money?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, but announce my resignation today. E.g. if I started on the 15th of September 2012, I announce my resignation to 16 September 2013

Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
Hi why do you want to announce it now?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have to inform the company of my new employment now

Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
It is risky giving a leave date of 3 months from todays date. As you have under a year's service your employer can dismiss you for any reason so long as it does not amount to discrimination on the grounds of sex, race , religion, disability, pregnancy, trade union membership, age or raising a health and safety claim. All they would have to do is give a months notice. Therefore if they are particularly unscrupulous (as many employers are unfortuantely), you could give long notice of 3 months and they could terminate your employment with one months notice.

This would mean you would not have adequate service to retain your sign on fee.

I would therefore refrain from telling them until you are within your one month notice period if at all possible.

If you have any further questions about this please do ask. If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would give a positive rating as I am not otherwise credited for my time.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Based on the sign-on contact I can keep the sign-on when they fire me as long as they don't do it on reasons of misconduct on my side. So do I understand you correctly that I can resign within the 12 months period as long as my leaving date is past 12 months of my start date?

Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
Yes, that is provided it does not state that you cannot give your notice during the 12 months, I would check that.

Please ask any further questions should you need to. I will be happy to answer your follow on questions.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

This is basically the question: whether the 12 months in the except above refer to when I can give notice or until when I have to work. That is: does it say if i give notice within 12 months i have to repay or does it only day i have to work 12 months, irrespective of when i give notice? There is no other clause on the notice period etc.

Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
Is the word notified defined anywhere in the agreement and does the contradt state the payment can be deducted from your final salary?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The same paragraph outlines other scenarios under which the company could dismiss me or when I would have to repay, but I am only concerned about the one part I copied above. The contract does not state that it could be deducted bite the amount is also significantly above my monthly pay.

Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
The clause is ambiguous. You can argue that if it meant that if you give notice of termination within 12 months then you will have to repay.

The common sense approach is that it means that if you 'leave' within 12 months. My view is that if you give a months notice, so long as you do not leave before 12 months is up contractually you are entitled to retain the fee.

In order to try to get it back they would have to take you to court. A court will read the contract (where ambigious) in favour of the employee so you are unlikely to have to pay it back.

It is unlikely therefore to present you with a problem.

If you have any follow on questions please ask. If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would rate my answer.

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