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5 tips that will come in handy when giving notice

Have you been offered a job that will advance you financially and professionally? Have you found a job around the corner from where you live where you won’t have to commute an hour every day? Or are you just not getting along with your current boss anymore? All of these are valid reasons to quit. How do you go about getting everything done properly and without stress?

mladý muž odchází z práce, výpověď z práce
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1. Read your existing employment contract

When you give notice, you must give two months’ notice, which is usually two months. However, your contract of employment may provide for a longer notice period. Therefore, before you start looking for and negotiating a new job, you should read it again to see if it also contains a special agreement on the length of the notice period. This will then determine your time options for starting a new job. If they are looking for someone “starting immediately” in the advert, then you cannot meet their requirements. But try to convince them that you are worth waiting longer.

The notice period of any length starts on the first day of the calendar month following receipt of your notice.

Example: if you gave your notice on 30 June, your employment would end on 31 August with the standard two months’ notice. However, if you give your notice just one day later, on 1 July, then your employment will not end until the end of September.

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Your employment contract (or a successor agreement) may also prohibit you from working for a competitor because of a non-compete clause. Typically, this is an agreement not to engage in any gainful activity that is identical to, or competitive with, your current employer’s business for a certain period of time (but no longer than one year) after your employment ends. This prevents the misuse of know-how. However, in return, you should also have an appropriate financial compensation agreed with your employer to compensate you for the entire period of ‘non-competition’. Check whether your contract contains something similar.

2. The notice period can also be shortened

A new job is an offer that is not seriously refused? A job you’d be willing to kill for, and you just can’t wait two months? Then there is another option, which is to make a deal: try to convince your current boss to terminate your employment by agreeing to a notice period of, say, one month. For example, you can promise him that you will be able to do everything you need to do in a month and hand over the work to your new colleague later, even in your own time. This might persuade him to be more helpful. In theory, however, it is possible to agree on any termination date, even on the day you sign the agreement.

Tip: You also do not have to wait for the expiry of the notice period to terminate your employment during the probationary period. A probationary termination has no further notice period and the employment relationship ends simply upon delivery.

Perhaps you’re considering another option we haven’t mentioned yet: what if you no longer arrive at your current job? Your new job told you that they really need you right away and don’t mind if you violate your duties at your current employer, get a negative evaluation, or get fired for an hour? Know that these aren’t the only risks of doing so.

By failing to comply with the notice period, you will be in breach of your employment obligations and you run the risk of your employer claiming damages from you. If you work as a shop assistant, this could be, for example, lost profits for days when your employer had to keep the shop closed. Is that new, wonderful job really worth the risk of replacing tens or hundreds of thousands of crowns?

3. Don’t give notice on the last day of the month

Leaving your notice on the last day of the month is a common practice of employees who want to minimize the time when they might be in disfavor with their employer, colleagues start spreading rumors about where they are leaving and why, etc. Yet it is not entirely worthwhile. It may happen that your current boss makes you an interesting offer that you want to think about or confront with a new one. Equally, you may find that your boss hasn’t even arrived at work and you have to find other ways of delivering your last-minute notice. It is therefore better to ensure you have enough time to spare.

Tip: If your current employer has offered you more attractive terms and you are now unsure whether or not to resign, it is better to resign anyway. It is usually possible to rescind your notice by agreement, so you don’t lose anything and can move on.

4. Give your notice in person

It is ideal to give your notice in person and have your supervisor acknowledge receipt of the notice so that you can prove receipt in the event of any conflict. But what if your boss or your boss’s boss didn’t arrive at work on the day you planned to give your notice because he or she is sick? Or maybe he or she is at work but doesn’t want to sign the notice?

You don’t have to hand in your notice directly to your line manager, depending on the organisation and operation of your company, you can just go to the mailroom and have it acknowledged here, or you can hand in your notice to the HR department.

You can also deliver the notice by post to the workplace address, by registered post with acknowledgement of receipt (never as an ordinary letter, for which you will not have proof of posting). You will have irrefutable proof in your hand that you have actually sent it. But remember that the notice period starts from the date of delivery.

Sending and delivering by email may also be a valid option. However, please note that such a notice would only have legal effect if signed with a recognised certified electronic signature.

5. Prepare a substantively and formally correct notice

And finally, the most important thing. Prepare your notice in such a way that it cannot be faulted and that the references in it lead to the correct sections and the applicable Labour Code.

If your notice is invalid for some reason and your employer has told you that he insists that you continue to do your job, the employment relationship will not end. And, as we mentioned above, if you still did not go to work after such a notice from your employer, he or she could claim compensation for the damages incurred. For this reason, we do not recommend using downloadable notice templates on the internet, which risk being out of date and invalidating your notice. If you are unsure what your notice should look like to ensure it meets all the requirements, don’t panic and contact a solicitor to prepare a notice tailored to your requirements.

The employee’s notice must always be in writing with a handwritten signature. It is therefore not enough to simply go to your current employer and verbally tell them that you are quitting. Such notice would not be taken into account at all.

Unlike your employer, who must always give a precise reason for your termination, you can give notice for any reason or no reason at all. It must be clear when it is given and by whom, and to whom it is addressed.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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