Notice to terminate employment
If there is a written contract it will normally specify the notice required by an employer or employee to terminate an employment contract.
However, the law specifies certain minimum notice periods, which apply whether or not there is a written contract. These will override the contract if the minimum period of notice is longer than that stated in the contract, but not if the written contract gives a longer notice period.
Notice by Employer
During the first 4 weeks of employment there is no minimum period of notice required.
After 4 weeks but before 2 years employment an employee is entitled to 1 week’s notice.
From 2 years to 12 years the employee is entitled to 1 week for every complete year of continuous employment.
After 12 years employment the employee is entitled to 12 weeks notice.
There are no minimum notice period for a worker or self employed contractor who is not an employee.
If an employee has committed an act of “gross misconduct” their employment can be terminated without notice.
An employee whose written contract states the employer may terminate their employment and pay them in lieu of notice, can be dismissed immediately as long as they are paid what they would have earned if they worked their notice period.
Pitfalls for the employer
If an employer does not follow correct procedures then even where the correct notice period has been given, the dismissal is likely to be found to be “unfair” (see Unfair Dismissal)
Where an employer decides the employee committed an act of gross misconduct, if the employee brings a claim, a Court of Tribunal is entitled to make up its own mind as to whether the employee committed an act of gross misconduct.
If an employer terminates the contract of someone he regards as self employed, if the worker claims to be an employee, a Tribunal can decide that in reality they were an employee and should have been given notice.
If an employer dismisses an employee with insufficient notice, the employee may be able to avoid the obligations set out as “restrictive covenants” imposed under a contract.
For further information see “Employment Contracts.”
Please note that the information on this page is intended to be a guideline and is therefore a summary of the law only and not a complete guide. Before taking any action based on this information you are strongly advised to take legal advice. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained on this page is up to date and accurate, no guarantee can be given to this effect.