Expert advice

Can I leave a nursing job without working the full notice period?

Be aware of the consequences if leaving will put you in breach of contract

Be aware of the consequences if leaving will put you in breach of contract

Picture: iStock

Your contract of employment ends on the date agreed with your employer, which will be determined by your notice period.

Leaving before the end of your contract is not something that should be considered lightly.

The costs of leaving your contract: worst-case scenario

A contract is a formal agreement between two parties, in this case, between you and your employer. They agree to pay you for your services and you agree to work a set number of hours undertaking specific duties.

If you leave before the end of the contract, you will be considered to be in breach of contract and your employer

...

Be aware of the consequences if leaving will put you in breach of contract

Picture: iStock

Your contract of employment ends on the date agreed with your employer, which will be determined by your notice period.

Leaving before the end of your contract is not something that should be considered lightly.

The costs of leaving your contract: worst-case scenario

A contract is a formal agreement between two parties, in this case, between you and your employer. They agree to pay you for your services and you agree to work a set number of hours undertaking specific duties.

If you leave before the end of the contract, you will be considered to be in breach of contract and your employer would be entitled to sue you for that.

If they did sue you, they would need to show the loss they had suffered, such as the cost of hiring someone to cover the shifts they were expecting you to undertake during your notice period.

This means that you could be ordered to recompense your employer for the cost of paying your replacement and any other costs associated with the process, such as the time it takes to find a replacement at short notice and any fees involved if an agency is used.

As you will not be providing the services expected under your contract, your employer will not have to pay you either.

Better option: agree a solution with your employer

That is a worst-case scenario. Your employer may be willing to let you leave early and agree a revised termination date with you. In this case, they would let your contract end and there would be no breach of contract.

Mutually agreeing a solution would be best for everyone concerned, so your best course of action is to approach your employer and explain your situation, why you want to leave and when.

If after this discussion with your employer you cannot agree a way forward, you need to obtain legal advice based on your contract of employment and what it means for your specific circumstance.

It would be unwise to leave your current employment without knowing the possible outcomes for yourself.

If your reason for leaving is to take up another job, an alternative may be for you to negotiate a delayed start date with your new employer.

In this case, explain that as a conscientious healthcare practitioner you cannot leave your current employer without cover for your remaining shifts.


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