Notice periods

The statutory minimum notice periods that must be given by employers and employees seeking to terminate employment are given in the table below.

Length of continuous service Employer to employee Employee to employer
Less than one month None None
More than one month but less than two years One week One week
More than two years but less than three years Two weeks One week
More than three years but less than four years Three weeks One week
More than four years but less than five years Four weeks One week
More than five years but less than six years Five weeks One week
More than six years but less than seven years Six weeks One week
More than seven years but less than eight years Seven weeks One week
More than eight years but less than nine years Eight weeks One week
More than nine years but less than ten years Nine weeks One week
More than ten years but less than eleven years Ten weeks One week
More than eleven years but less than twelve years Eleven weeks One week
More than twelve years Twelve weeks One week

 N.B. These notice periods represent the minimum a tribunal may take into account - it may decide that there is an implied entitlement to a longer notice period because of seniority or salary level. Any contractual notice period will take precedence over statutory notice periods.

Contractual notice periods may not be less than statutory minimum notice periods.

Although a court may take a disapproving attitude towards an employee that 'flouts' the terms of his or her contract, forcing an employee to work throughout his or her notice period after resigning may be considered to be 'akin to slavery'. Hence it is useful to have a 'garden leave' clause in contracts of employment that holds the employee to his or her notice period but does not require him or her to attend work. Such a clause prevents him or her working for the new employer (who may be a competitor) until the expiry of his or her notice.

In the event that an employee resigns and negotiates a reduction in his or her notice period to achieve an earlier termination date, the employer is justified in only continuing to pay the employee until the termination date. Any such variance in the terms and conditions of employment should be agreed in writing