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I don’t understand my notice period, can you help?

Most people (not all) know what their notice period is as in most circumstances it’s clearly stated in their contract of employment, or employment terms and conditions. But believe it or not, I’m asked this question a lot: I don’t understand my notice period, can you help?

How long is my notice period?

As above, the first place to look is your contract. If there’s no contractual notice period outlined in your contract, then statutory notice provisions apply.

Statutory Notice

Employers must give one week’s notice if the employee has been employed continuously for one month or more, but less than two years. If the employee has been employed continuously for two years then the employer must give two week’s notice, and a further week for each additional year worked – up to a maximum of 12 weeks.

Employees must give their employer a minimum of one week’s notice once they’ve been employed for a month.

Contractual Notice

This should be outlined in the terms and conditions of employment and is often longer than the statutory notice period.

It’s worth noting that if the contractual notice period is less than the statutory notice period, statutory applies.

There are some circumstances where no notice is required; for example, a case of gross misconduct or the expiry of a fixed term contract.

How do I give notice?

The notice doesn’t need to be in writing. However, handing your notice in verbally and in writing is the best practice and avoids any confusion at a later date. When either party give notice it can’t be withdrawn unless both parties agree. Therefore, you must be clear in your intentions when giving notice.

Notice starts from the day after notice is given. Therefore, if a week’s notice is given on a Monday, you’re required to work the following Monday.

Will I still get paid?

During your notice period, you usually receive the same pay and benefits. There are some circumstances where pay in lieu of notice is given, but this must be set out clearly in your employment terms to apply.

Do I have to work my notice period?

In essence, you should work your notice period to avoid breaching your contract – so further action can’t be taken. If you leave without working your full notice period and in doing so cause problems for your employer, either practically or financially, then you put yourself at risk of legal action being taken against you.

You can speak to your employer to reach an agreement around shortening your notice period, so long as they agree you’ll not be in breach.

Read here for essential tips to ensure a smooth notice period.

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