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Old 22.07.2019, 16:40
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I got sacked. Can I start a new job during my notice period?

I got sacked recently. My notice period runs until the end of September. I am on garden leave (as opposed to payment in lieu of notice) so I remain employed by the company during this time. Indeed, they will only give me my final reference letter at the end of the notice period.

It looks like I may have found another job, but they would want me to start immediately. I'm sure from a taxation point of view it would be ok to collect two salaries at the same time and my withholding tax rate would be adjusted accordingly or there would be some kind of correction at the end of the tax year, but is this legal? My old contract only says that I cannot work for a competitor for a certain amount of time, but this is not a competitor. I asked my old employer if in principle I can take up other work during this time but HR is based in the UK, are generally overwhelmed and really don't know (or care) much about Swiss employment law, so unsurprisingly they were clueless and said they would need to 'look into' it. This was last week and in the past they have taken several months to answer even simple queries so I'm not holding my breath.

Where do I go from here? If not a problem from a legal point of view, I would be keen to start the new job asap. Have any of you ever been in such a situation, or has heard of someone who has? Am I overthinking this? (I'm in Geneva, if that matters.)

Many thanks in advance for your replies!
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Old 22.07.2019, 16:44
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Re: I got sacked. Can I start a new job during my notice period?

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I got sacked recently. My notice period runs until the end of September. I am on garden leave (as opposed to payment in lieu of notice) so I remain employed by the company during this time. Indeed, they will only give me my final reference letter at the end of the notice period.

It looks like I may have found another job, but they would want me to start immediately. I'm sure from a taxation point of view it would be ok to collect two salaries at the same time and my withholding tax rate would be adjusted accordingly or there would be some kind of correction at the end of the tax year, but is this legal? My old contract only says that I cannot work for a competitor for a certain amount of time, but this is not a competitor. I asked my old employer if in principle I can take up other work during this time but HR is based in the UK, are generally overwhelmed and really don't know (or care) much about Swiss employment law, so unsurprisingly they were clueless and said they would need to 'look into' it. This was last week and in the past they have taken several months to answer even simple queries so I'm not holding my breath.

Where do I go from here? If not a problem from a legal point of view, I would be keen to start the new job asap. Have any of you ever been in such a situation, or has heard of someone who has? Am I overthinking this? (I'm in Geneva, if that matters.)

Many thanks in advance for your replies!

I expect they will accept to release you from gardening leave ad allow you to start a new job but in same respect they will stop paying you which is fair.
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Old 22.07.2019, 16:56
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Re: I got sacked. Can I start a new job during my notice period?

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HR is based in the UK, are generally overwhelmed and really don't know (or care) much about Swiss employment law, so unsurprisingly they were clueless and said they would need to 'look into' it.
It usually works how Today only said. However, there is nothing illegal of offering your employer to cancel your employment earlier with a severance package. "I give you 25% off if you pay me in one lump sum instead of the following months" might work.
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Old 22.07.2019, 19:34
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Re: I got sacked. Can I start a new job during my notice period?

It is actually illegal, there is a legal limit of how much time a week you are allowed to work (max 48h with some exceptions to 54h if i remember correctly). having two jobs (on paper) means working at least 80 h / week.

So only legal way is either to wait, or ask your current employer to terminate contract early and then start new job.
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Old 22.07.2019, 20:11
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Re: I got sacked. Can I start a new job during my notice period?

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It is actually illegal, there is a legal limit of how much time a week you are allowed to work (max 48h with some exceptions to 54h if i remember correctly). having two jobs (on paper) means working at least 80 h / week.

So only legal way is either to wait, or ask your current employer to terminate contract early and then start new job.
With such they are talking about hours actually worked
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Old 22.07.2019, 20:41
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Re: I got sacked. Can I start a new job during my notice period?

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With such they are talking about hours actually worked
Are you implying the OP does not have to spend his garden leave in his actual garden???
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Old 22.07.2019, 21:35
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Re: I got sacked. Can I start a new job during my notice period?

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Where do I go from here? If not a problem from a legal point of view, I would be keen to start the new job asap. Have any of you ever been in such a situation, or has heard of someone who has? Am I overthinking this? (I'm in Geneva, if that matters.)
Generally speaking gardening leave is there for a reason, rather than just paying you off. And as you are still in a full-time position, it would be a legal issue if you just started a new job.

Bottom line, you need to get them to release you from your current contract obligations.
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Old 23.07.2019, 08:49
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Re: I got sacked. Can I start a new job during my notice period?

I think it may not be possible due to insurance reasons, you might be still insured with the old employee?
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Old 23.07.2019, 10:14
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Re: I got sacked. Can I start a new job during my notice period?

It depends on your termination contract with the company.

I have been on garden leave twice during my career. For my first leave, in my termination contract, it stated that if I found employment before it ended, they would pay me a "settlement" fee and release me from my employment early. Most recently, I was on a short garden leave, where they made it very clear that I was not allowed to work anywhere else during the leave time.

If they have not specifically laid out the terms in your contract, I would insist on finding out. You will not be forced to turn the new job down...worst case scenario, you simply won't be paid double salary. They can however come after you and ask for their money back if you aren't honest and in breach of contract.

P.S. Congrats on finding a job so quickly!
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