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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am planning to leave my employer in mid October and under

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I am planning to leave my employer in mid October and under the terms of my contract I only have to give one weeks notice. My contract also states that my employer can terminate my employment with 5 weeks notice. I have been with my employer, a supermarket for 5 years and am a Store Manager. I would like to tell them soon that I am leaving. If I give say 15 weeks notice when only 1 is required can they counter that with 5 weeks notice purely because I have resigned when my performance is good?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.
It is indeed possible for them to do so and could even result in a termination sooner than the 5 weeks.
Firstly, under contract you must give them a week’s notice – that is the minimum they would expect. You are free to offer a longer period but they do not have to accept that. If they do not, then they can state that your notice period would expire after the length stated in your contract, which is actually a week. In effect you are giving them the week notice you are required to already, just asking them to accept a longer notice period. As they do not have to accept that, if it is rejected they can hold you to your contractual notice period which is just a week.
If they wanted to give you the 5 week notice instead, they would be dismissing you and as such they would need to provide a fair reason for dismissal and follow a fair procedure. It would no longer be a resignation. As such I do not see the employer wishing to avail of their notice period to terminate your employment as then it creates a lot more work for them and places them at risk of unfair dismissal if they cannot find a fair reason to dismiss you.
So the best way to do this is approach the employer at some point and ask them if they are willing to consider you working a longer notice period. Do not resign yet – just test the waters and see if you can get their agreement, then follow through with the formal resignation notice. But as mentioned be careful about just resigning because you would only be expected to give a week’s notice and if they do not accept your proposed extended notice period they could just terminate you after a week has elapsed as that is what you would have contractually been expected to give.
I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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