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This week’s blog is about what happens when a member of staff leaves without giving you the notice in the contract of employment. If this hasn’t happened to you yet, I am sorry to say that there is a very chance that it will happen one day, that or you don’t employ anyone!

There’s many reasons why staff may leave and not give notice:

1. They don’t realise that there is a notice period in their contract. They are not good at reading things!

2. You didn’t give them a contract, or they didn’t keep the one you gave them.

3. They feel under pressure by a third party to leave without notice, desperate new employers will often say to a candidate, can’t you start immediately

4. They are demotivated and unhappy working for you!

5. They are ignorant and can’t be bothered to follow the ‘norms’ of resigning and working notice.

6. They are scared of telling you that they are leaving to go to a competitor.

7. They have done something that they don’t want you to find out.

8. They ‘don’t do goodbyes’ and would find it too hard to work their notice.

9. They are embarrassed and are taking ‘flight’.

10. They have been told there is little you can do.

It’s true that when it happens, there are limited actions an employer can take.

If your contract has anticipated it you could, if you choose, deduct the loss you suffer from final monies due to the employee.  You can sue them for breach of contract in the civil courts, but again need to demonstrate loss, which may be hard if existing staff cover the notice, or you end up working yourself.

If a reference is requested you can reflect it in the reference by stating that they didn’t work their notice.  You couldn’t say you would have disciplined them if they had stayed.

You can deduct for other equipment they fail to return such as locker key, uniform etc. only if these have been added to the contract as deductions.

What you can’t do is make someone who doesn’t want to come to work, come to work. In childcare, if they don’t want to be there, you don’t want them there!

In my experience the trick to minimise this happening is to have a reasonable notice period. Too long a period and you are effectively increasing the chance that someone will leave without giving you notice.

If you have any questions about notice periods, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. T: 01527 909436.