If your employer wishes to terminate your employment, it is usually required to give a period of notice to you. The statutory notice period is the minimum legal notice period required to be given before terminating your employment. Your employment contract may entitle you to greater notice. The statutory notice period depends on the length of your continuous employment for the organisation.
- One-week notice – where you have been continuously employed for more than one month but less than two years.
- Two weeks’ notice – where you have been continuously employed for longer than two years.
- Beyond two years, you are entitled to an additional week’s notice for each full year of continuous employment up to a maximum of twelve weeks. Therefore, if you had been continuously employed for six years you would be entitled to six weeks’ notice.
As an employee, you are only required by statute to give one week’s notice to quit employment no matter your length of service. However, your contract of employment may require you to give more notice. Failure to give adequate notice could result in a claim against an employee for Breach of Contract.
The exception to the statutory notice period is where your employment is terminated for gross misconduct. When employment is terminated on these grounds, it will usually be a ‘summary dismissal’, i.e. with immediate effect and without notice.
Instead of requiring an employee to work their notice period, an employer may instead choose to make a payment in lieu of notice (PILON) or place an employee on garden leave. Usually, the employers right to do this will be set out in the contract of employment.
A PILON is where the employment contract is terminated straight away but the employee is paid the equivalent of their notice entitlement. Garden leave is where an employee remains contractually bound by the terms and conditions of employment, save for the fact that the employee is not required to attend work or perform any duties for the employer unless specifically asked to do so. The disadvantage for the employee is that they are unable to commence new employment until the end of the notice / garden leave period.