Notice

Produced by Tolley in association with Hannah Freeman at Old Square Chambers

The following Employment Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley in association with Hannah Freeman at Old Square Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Notice
  • Statutory notice
  • Length of statutory minimum notice
  • Where statutory minimum notice not given
  • Contractual notice
  • Termination without notice
  • Waiver of notice
  • Waiving contractual notice
  • Waiving statutory notice
  • Effective date of termination

Notice

Statutory notice

There is a statutory minimum notice period that must be given to bring a contract of employment to an end, except where one of the parties is entitled to terminate the employment without notice, eg where an employer may dismiss an employee without notice for gross misconduct. The length of the statutory notice period depends on how long the employee has been working for the employer. Where the contract provides for a notice period that is shorter than the statutory minimum, the statute overrides the wording of the contract so that, in effect, the contract is treated as giving the statutory entitlement. This does not prevent the contract of employment from specifying a longer notice period.

The parties can agree to waive their rights to statutory minimum notice, or agree to payment in lieu of statutory minimum notice.

A very limited number of employee groups can be excluded from the minimum notice period mechanism. These are:

  1. certain merchant seamen

  2. people in the armed forces

  3. Crown employees

  4. parliamentary staff

  5. people employed overseas (on the basis of territorial scope of ERA 1996)

Length of statutory minimum notice

The periods of statutory minimum notice to be given to employees are as follows:

Length of serviceStatutory minimum notice period
First month of employmentNo minimum
Between one month and two years of employmentOne week
Between two and 12 years of employmentOne week for each complete year of continuous service
12 or more years’ continuous service12 weeks

ERA 1996, s 86(1)

Also see the Continuity of employment guidance note.

The employer’s right to notice from an employee is also dependent on how long the employee has been employed. Until the employee has completed one month’s continuous employment, the notice required depends upon the terms of the contract, express or implied. Thereafter, the notice period is as set out in the table above.

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