Statutory minimum notice

The following Employment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Statutory minimum notice
  • Who qualifies for statutory minimum notice
  • Qualifying service required
  • Excluded groups
  • Length of statutory minimum notice
  • Date to which continuity of employment is calculated
  • Online statutory minimum notice calculator
  • Waiver of statutory notice
  • Effect of gross misconduct
  • Remedies for failure to give statutory notice
  • More...

Statutory minimum notice

Section 86 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996) provides for a statutory minimum period of notice that must be given to bring a contract of employment to an end, except where one of the parties is entitled to terminate without notice because of the conduct of the other party.

As the right is in relation to a contract of employment only, the right to statutory minimum notice applies only in relation to employees (see Practice Note: Employee status) and apprentices (see Practice Note: Apprenticeships).

The contract of employment can specify a longer period of notice but, where the contract provides for shorter notice than the statutory minimum, the contract is treated as giving the statutory entitlement.

Who qualifies for statutory minimum notice

Qualifying service required

The right to statutory minimum notice depends upon a qualifying period of one month’s continuous employment, whether it is the employer or the employee who is giving notice.

For employment of less than one month, the notice to be given is that expressly stated in the contract or implied ‘reasonable notice’: the latter is uncertain and will depend upon the circumstances (such as the seniority of the employee, custom and practice and the nature of the employment). See Practice Note: Contractual notice.

Excluded groups

A small group of employees are excluded from this right:

  1. certain merchant seamen

  2. people in the armed forces

  3. Crown

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