Notice Periods

This page is all about notice periods in employment contracts by Hatton James Legal, employment solicitors in Birmingham.

How much notice should an employer give?

An employment contract may give the bare statutory minimum entitlement (zero notice for the first month, then one week’s notice for the first two years, then one extra week per year’s service after that, to a maximum of 12 weeks).

In gross misconduct cases, employment lawyers will tell you that employers don’t have to give any notice.

This is called ‘summary dismissal’ and if challenged, this is called a wrongful dismissal claim (there is no length of service minimum to bring this employment tribunal claim). If an employer wants to rely on restrictive covenants it should be sure that its summary dismissal will stand up to scrutiny by an employment tribunal.

Contracts can contain more generous notice periods than this, but not less.

For example, an employee with three years’ service whose contract of employment gives one month’s notice must be given the statutory notice of three weeks.

How much notice should the employee give?

Again, it depends on the contract but the statutory minimum is one week’s notice for employees who have been in employment for at least a month, which doesn’t increase. An employment contract will usually give a longer notice period.

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