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3 week break between jobs - pensions? NI? Help!

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Hermia | 23:46 Wed 07th Feb 2007 | Personal Finance
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I am about to start a new job, but I am taking a three week break between leaving one job and starting another. I am moving 500 miles and need the time to pack up the house and move etc. etc. I have had to take this break as I have no annual leave and discussions with the old and new employers didn't result in any other options. But I have been advised by HR people and my manager that I am doing a very stupid thing because I break my "continuity of service". I am quite prepared for the fact I will have to backpay NI and the state pension for this period. I have a transferable company pension which might be what people are worrying about. But I've been told that doing this will have "serious consequences" and could even effect my annual leave!

Could someone please give me some advice 'cause I am really worrying now! My employer basically told me I have no choice but to leave work on a Friday and start the new job on the Monday. But there is no way I can pack up one house, move miles away and set up the new house in a few days! Surely I can't be the only person who has a short break from employment?!

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I think they are talking a load of complete and utter rubbish. Loads of people (me included) take a couple of weeks between leaving one job and starting another.

How can your old employer know that your annual leave with another employer will be affected? The only way it will be affected is that you will have 3 weeks less service in that particular holiday year so your pro-rata holiday entilement (for that year only) will be less.

For example, I started a new job in September, exactly half way through the holiday year. I was therefore entitled to half the annual leave of 23 days, which was 11 1/2. If I had started 3 weeks later, i would probably only have been entitled to 11 days - the difference is negligeable.

Have you actually asked them what they mean by 'serious consequences?'
I also think you are being wrongly advised. I used to believe that one's entitlement to the Basic State Pension depended on the number of years of NI contribution (it does) and that each year 'credited' depended on having a complete set of 'NI weeks' contributed (it doesn't!). Each year is accrued by contributing at the minimum level - the LEL - which is equivalent to about �4500 in pay over the year. Unless you are right down at this pay level (part-time perhaps?), loss of three weeks NI won't impact Basic State Pension. Not sure about the Second State pension though - if you are in it. You WON'T be in that if you are in your company scheme.
Yes, your employer is talking total rubbish. You will not have to pay back NI or pension contributions as they only take them when you actually earn the money. You need 34 (I think) qualifying years to get a full state pension. Most people have more than the minimum but it does not make any difference to your basic pension
Continuity of service applies only to your current job, you can't have continuity of service when changing employers.
Just give your notice for the day you need to leave and don't worry about it. Good luck in your new home and job.
I think she moved 9 years ago eddie!

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