Hopefully you leave your company on amicable and ideally positive terms, but how do you know when you have an employment contract that is unreasonable or you risk losing your new job because of fears of bad references?

The information below serves as a guideline only to your rights once you have resigned.  If you have an irreconcilable dispute, please contact the Citizens Advice Bureau, an HR professional or a Solicitor for further advice.


Statutory notice (legal requirement) is set at one week for every year of employment, to a maximum of 12 weeks for 12 years’ service or more.  You are entitled to renegotiate to a more reasonable length if you are the second scenario and is best approached in the resignation meeting.

Some people prefer to shorten their notice by deducting any outstanding holidays owed.  Don’t work longer than you legally have to.

Temporary roles have no notice period and you can leave immediately.


No company should give you a bad or non-factual reference even if you leave on bad terms.   Anyone who writes untruths leaves themselves wide open to be sued for ‘defamation of character’.


Getting your last month’s wages and entitlements can be difficult.  Whilst most settle without a hitch, there are some companies who raise disputes.   Any wages owed to you are covered under the Wages Act 1986.  As a last resort, and if phoning the company daily hasn’t worked, you can make a very simple claim in the County Court under the Act without the need of a Solicitor.  Simply call your local court for the form and information.

For further advice speak to one of our specialist Recruitment Consultants by calling 01202 680 311