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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor Advocate
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm with 20+ years legal experience
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if I have a notice period of 3 months and have 25 days of unused

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if I have a notice period of 3 months and have 25 days of unused annual leave - can I resign giving 3 months notice and leave early using my unused holiday to finish before the 3 months notice period ends and start my new job?
Alex H : My name is***** and I'm happy to help with your question today.

Hello Alex - when you are ready.

Alex H : You have to be paid form any unused holiday entitlement. However you can take this as leave and you can ask to reduce the notice period accordingly. However you current employer has the right to object to you taking this leave during time you have proposed or ask you to take a reduced period of leave.
Alex H : So when you resign you must make clear that you wish to take your holiday entitlement. If your employer has any objections they must notify you in writing.

I am not happy and therefore would like to leave as soon as. I want to give notice but not as long as 3 months.

Alex H : If your contract says 3 months notice then that's what you must give. It's unusual for an employer to object to holiday being taken as part of the notice period. If you are unhappy I guess they'd be willing to reduce the notice period to 2 months to see you go sooner.
Alex H : So your resignation letter would say, of course, ' I am giving 3 months notice but wish to take my outstanding holiday entitlement and reduce this by 25 days'.

If they want me to work the full 3 months - what options do I have - can I force to leave with shorter notice or use my unused holiday?

Alex H : You can try and negotiate a shorter notice period- it's not unusual. If you are unhappy and your employer understands your reasons for leaving you may be able to agree an exit strategy which means you leave sooner. The starting point is 3 months notice but you would ask for a reduction by 25 days. If your employer refuses and you leave after 2 months there only cause of action would be for breach of contract but in reality they wouldn't have a claim unless they can prove some loss. If you make your position crystal clear including the reasons for leaving they are unlikely to object to you leaving sooner.
Alex H : Can I assist any further?

I have a senior position but my work does not affect the day to day operations and if I am not there (due to leaving early) they cannot easily show a loss to the operations - can they still justify loss to them, even if my position was new and they may not need the same replacement.I do not have any mid-way projects or assignments which would incur a loss due to my non presence.

Alex H : They are going to find it virtually impossible to show any loss in the circumstances. Apart from anything else you will have worked a minimum of your 2 months notice anyway. Also they have to mitigate their loss so, for example, if they thought you are a key person and needed to be replaced, they would have to look for a replacement immediately. Doing nothing and then claiming a loss to their business is not sufficient.
Alex H : If you had one month notice period and wanted 25 days then I could see their concern. But in your case you will still be working 2/3rds of your notice and simply taking your holiday entitlement. It's unusual for an employer to object.

Am I legally bound to say where I am going (even if I am not going in the same trade - ie no trade conflict).


Does it matter if I am working half my notice period ie notice period 3 months less 28 days holiday which means I only work the balance 1 and half months?

Alex H : There is no obligation to tell your current employer where you are going regardless of a reduced notice period.

Thanks Alex - please give me feedback on my next question on working only half the notice period.

Alex H : The reduced notice period is not unusual where there is outstanding holiday to be taken into account. It really is a matter of negotiation and legally doesn't change your position.

I have 2 job offers - and one is in the same industry and a competitor - which means I have a conflict. Therefore am I legally bound to say I am joining the competition - and do I have to name them ? or can I simply say that there is a conflict and to release me asap. I have not accepted either of the job offers - as I am not sure how I can leave early as both require me to start as soon as and 3 months would mean that they will go for the alternative candidates.

Alex H : It depends on your employment contract. It would be unlikely that they could stop you working for a competitor (otherwise people in the same industry would never be able to move around and get a new job). But there may be a geographical limit. There is usually a no competition clause in the contract setting out what you can and can't do. However, these clauses are very difficult to enforce because it could lead to a person being unemployed and unable to move on which is unfair.

So I do not have to declare where I am going? but simply say "i would like to leave immediately as I am joining the competition ? If this is an issue - I might as well take the other job.


I do not have a "no competition" clause in my contract - but I know there is always an issue when someone has left to join the competition - they have been sent on garden leave for their notice period.

Alex H : If there is no clause then you are not obliged to say anything.

I am almost finished.

Alex H : No problem!

Any advice from you - my employer is difficult to deal with and won't let me go early and I need to leave early but only work a short notice period of say 1 month. I know he does not negotiate and easy to deal with. The only thing I have is my unused holidays of 28 days.

Alex H : Yes. Your best bargaining position is to explain, in writing, the exact reasons why you wish to leave and why you are not content in your job. You should set the agenda with your leaving dates. By putting your position in writing and making it clear your intention is to leave on a certain date you should have the upper hand. Ultimately if your employer makes your life unbearable then you could leave earlier and claim constructive dismissal for which you could get compensation. So your employer has to be very carful about their approach to your resignation.

this has been very helpful and thanks for your advice - last question - knowing the above detail would you be able to send me a draft resignation template so that I can use this to type my resignation letter and hand this (email) in tomorrow. My email address is already provided when I signed in.

Alex H : I cannot draft a template for you unfortunately but I can check your draft for an additional fee.

I guess I will use your advice and points mentioned above to draft one and hope for the best.

Alex H : No problem. I am happy to have a look at the draft as I mentioned but our service does not extend to preparing documents at this time.

It is with great reluctance that I submit this letter of my resignation. Although my period of employment with xxx has been, on the whole, a satisfying one, but for a considerable time now I have become less satisfied with my work situation. The new role I have been assigned to and the methods and support in performing my duties are making it increasingly difficult for me to be able to fulfill my responsibilities adequately. Therefore it is with regret that I ask you to accept my resignation with effect from today xx Sept. I have 28 days of leave to take and I want to make my last working day as 1st Nov. ....Yours sincerely.... - how do you see the above - anything wrong or should I change anything?


Hello Alex - are you there for this last question?

Hello. Yes, the letter looks fine overall but I would personally add a little more information about the dissatisfaction part. I would also say that 'I am tendering my resignation' rather than offering.
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