I was wondering what is the average notice (leave) period for academic positions (eg lecturer/post doc/teaching fellow). I have just received a 14 month contract stipulating a 3 months notice by either party which effectively makes leaving the job early for new employment impossible. is this normal university practice? The companies I have worked for before had an employee notice period of 2 - 5 weeks and 2 months employer notice.

UK University.


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    Could you add a country? Here in Austria you got 1 "test month", whcih means both parties can just terminate the contract during this month and afterwards it's 3 months, which is standard in Austria. But you can cut that time down if both agree.
    – user64845
    Nov 22, 2016 at 13:05
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    I would say it is rather normal practice. You might be teaching, you might be the only person responsible for a specific research project, these make you hard to replace instantaneously. And how do 3 months notice for 14 months make it impossible to leave early? You could still leave a year early.
    – skymningen
    Nov 22, 2016 at 13:18
  • Most positions I have seen are looking for immediate or fairly quick starts in academia for early careers people but still maybe do able as the experience would help but I'm not sure about academia yet (love teaching and research, hate the working culture and the money) so transitioning into industry will be difficult specially being seen as "an over qualified academic" since industrial notice periods are usually 2-4 weeks and hence the starts (competition). Nov 22, 2016 at 13:56

1 Answer 1


It seems to me that for a position with teaching duties, the main question is: leaving during the year versus leaving at the end of the year. Suppose you teach a semester course and you give your notice in the first month, then 3 months sounds a bit short. It might be that they want to make the schedule for the next year 3 months before classes start and want to know what teacher are still there next year.
My advice would be to discuss this with the university. However if you are looking for a job that you can quit at an arbitrary time within weeks/a few months, then teaching might not be for you.

  • Thanks, Your answer is correct and appropriate in such circumstances. However this is a teaching role with no teaching as part of the trend of making teaching materials for the non UK branches (eg. their hired lecturers are not qualified to create the material/or too busy). The issue I have is the generic nature of the contract. I was wondering if it was normal. Nov 22, 2016 at 13:52
  • Yes, that is normal: universities are large bureaucracies and large bureaucracies love standard contracts. If you have special duties that make some parts of the contract less appropriate you could talk to the appropriate people. They may change the contract, but there is a real chance that they won't, correctly or incorrectly citing some university/national policy or rule or law. Then it is up to you whether you want to take that contract or not. Nov 22, 2016 at 14:06

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