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Notice Rights

In accordance with the Employment Rights Act 1996 employees are entitled to be given at least the minimum notice of termination. The actual amount for any particular employee under the statutory provisions depends on their actual length of service with the employer. The entitlements currently are as follows:-

a) After one month service – one week notice

b) Up to 2 years service – two weeks notice

c) Then an extra weeks’ notice for each extra year of service, up to a maximum of 12 weeks notice.

However, it is vital that employers understand that the statutory entitlements are Minimum entitlements. The actual entitlement for a particular employee will depend on other factors too.

  1. The most important factor is the notice stated in the written contract of employment (which must at least provide for the statutory entitlement).

In the absence of a written contractual provision the entitlement will be to “reasonable” notice. The actual amount which is “reasonable” may vary from business to business; it may be affected by a national or local trade custom and practice, it may be affected by a particular practice within the employer’s own business.

An employee is entitled to either work the notice period, or be paid in lieu of the notice period. The true contractual value of the pay in lieu will include any holiday entitlement and other benefits that would accrue in the notice period. Sometimes employers will not want staff to be at work during a notice period, particularly if it is a long notice period, or if they are concerned about an individual being demotivated during a notice period, or they are worried about that person misusing confidential information during the notice period. In such cases employers should consider sending that person on garden leave through all or part of their notice period. This would involve paying full salary & benefits for the period of notice, but that person would be away from the work place.


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