Dealing with a long notice period

11 February 2020

By Sky Randall

Dealing with a long notice period

​Up until the point you want to leave your current job your long notice period is a great security blanket. It’s also a good reminder of how valuable/important you are to your current employer. However, the moment you want to change jobs you realise how restricting it can be too. You’re are faced with a long wait to escape your current job in order to move to a new challenge with a new employer.

3 month's notice

Some companies will wait 3 months for you to join them but without question there will be some companies who can’t. It’s important that you establish early on in the recruitment process what the situation is with each role you’re applying for.

In future you should pay particular attention to this clause in your contract prior to signing it. It might be easier to negotiate on this before starting a role – once the contract is signed it’s legally binding. Therefore it’s then down to you to agree an early exit with your employer, if they’re willing.

Things to consider in terms of negotiating your notice period:

Be honest

Firstly, be honest in any conversations you have with prospective employers about your notice period. Don’t over promise in terms of an earlier start date until you’ve been able to negotiate your current terms.

Pick your moment and speak to your current employer face to face about the situation. Follow up quickly with your request in writing, suggesting a date you wish to leave. We would suggest this is after receiving a written offer of employment from your new employer. Set out your reasons for wanting to leave earlier clearly and detail what you’re prepared to offer. This could be you being more flexible with your working hours in order to hand over your workload thoroughly/quickly. Or being contactable for a certain period of time after you leave to deal with any issues. This might sweeten the deal! It may help to be able to be able to outline your current workload and/or the state of play with current projects or responsibilities. The more straightforward the handover the easier you’re making it for your employer to grant your wish to leave early.

Trade holiday

You could, with your employer’s agreement, offset any outstanding holiday against your notice period allowing you to leave earlier. You taking the holiday will also mean that your current employer will not have to pay you for these days/weeks

Most companies would appreciate a happy and productive employee working a shorter notice period than a demotivated and negative employee being forced to work an unnecessarily long notice period!

Acknowledge and appreciate the situation your current employer is in, in terms of staffing and workload. They’ve got to replace you as well.

If your negotiations are unsuccessful initially it might be possible to renegotiate again at a later point if the circumstances change in terms of workload or the speed at which a replacement can be hired.

Whatever the outcome, be professional, dignified, reasonable and courteous at all times. You never know when your paths may cross again.

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