Notice Periods

When an employee decides to move on to new employment, it can be a challenging time for them to communicate this decision to you. To avoid any issues with the leave date which would otherwise affect the start date in a subsequent employment, an employee should submit their written notice within:

  • One week if employed between one month and two years
  • One week for each year of employment, between two years and twelve years
  • Twelve weeks of employment over twelve years

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As an employer, you can outline a longer notice period than the above standard statutory notice in an employee’s contract. For example, you can require your employee to give one month’s notice instead of one week, if they have been employed between one month and two years. It is important to highlight the correct notice periods to prevent disputes if your employee did decide to leave.

Notice periods start on the day after the formal written notice is submitted and as an employer, you can take an employee to court if they give verbal notice instead of written.

Do employees get paid during their notice period?

An employee should still get paid for any sick leave, annual leave or maternity leave, they take during their notice period. The rights for pay are identical to as if they were not serving a notice period.

In the case where you agree with the employee for them to leave without serving their notice period, they will receive a one-off payment or payment in lieu, often resulting in the termination date being brought forward.

The treatment of employees during their notice period

The period of notice an employee is required to work can be a time when they are most vulnerable to other issues, such as bullying. As employers, you should treat your employee fairly and communicate their leave in a positive way to the wider team.

The most important thing is to establish a clear transfer of knowledge from them to their predecessor. If the employee sits around with no work plan, they will feel demotivated, inflicting a demoralising effect on the rest of the team.

Gardening leave is an alternative way for employees to serve their notice. This allows them to work from home or another location. Pay and contractual rights remain the same during this type of leave and can be a healthier option for the team and the resigning employee.

Leaving without notice?

If an employee has committed an act of gross misconduct, then dismissal can take place instantly without the need for any notice to be served. What’s more, a minimum notice period does not apply to casual workers, freelancers and independent contractors.