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The classy way to leave your job

Claire Leigh

On July 17, 1995, Stoke-on-Trent born star Robbie Williams broke hearts across the country by announcing his departure from Take That. Despite the initial distress, Robbie went on to become the bestselling British solo artist in the United Kingdom. Claire Leigh, Managing Director – Brampton Recruitment, explains the best way to leave a job while remaining professional.

When starting a new role, an employer will outline in the new employee’s contract the protocols for leaving the company. When an employee decides to leave, it’s important that these protocols are followed and that you do as much as possible to leave on good terms.

Giving notice
After being employed for longer than a month, giving sufficient notice before leaving a job is a legal requirement. The minimum period is a week’s notice, but contracts often stipulate a longer period. The standard length of time for many companies is one months’ notice.

Notice should always be given in writing, as this may help to resolve any future disputes. A formal letter must be handed directly to the relevant manager and include reasons for leaving and the last date of employment. It should also state a willingness to work the notice period and a thank you for the opportunities and experiences given during the role.

The notice period may be worked in the place of employment under usual conditions, or sometimes at home, which is known as gardening leave.

Gardening leave refers to the employee being asked to work from home, or not come into work for the duration of the notice period. If gardening leave is offered, the same pay and contractual benefits apply as if notice was being worked as usual.

Maintaining relationships
After notifying your employer, it is good practice to check with your manager before informing your co-workers of your departure, allowing them to prepare.

Speaking to managers and other colleagues who you have indirectly worked with is also a good idea. Similarly, following discussion with your manager, you could tell suppliers and customers you have worked closely with, taking the opportunity to pass on details of their new contact.

The rate of pay must stay consistent and you will continue to be paid up to the last day of employment. Any outstanding sick, holiday, maternity, paternity or adoption entitlement must be paid in the final pay packet.

If there is a dispute over pay, the first step is to contact the employer. If they refuse to honour the owed amount, the grievance can be taken to a tribunal and small claims court if necessary. In the unlikely event of this happening, a reputable recruitment agency or the Advice, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) can provide advice and support.

Cleaning your desk is important both literally and figuratively. A notice period should be used as an opportunity to tie up loose ends and finalise any outstanding jobs where possible.

A handover document is an invaluable tool to the remaining members of the team and the person taking on your role. This should be as detailed as possible, containing useful information such as passwords, contacts and locations.

Leaving a job can be a valuable step in your career, just ask Robbie Williams. Carrying out the leave respectfully will ensure your former co-workers are able to continue with as little disruption as possible and put you in good stead for your next role.

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