An area of employment that can cause a headache for managers and staff alike is the required notice period for termination (resignation).
There are two options: statutory notice or contractual notice.
Employees and employers have a requirement to give, and the right to receive the minimum statutory notice.
Employers and employees cannot contract out of the minimum notice but they can agree to waive notice. This is often done when the employer makes a payment in lieu of notice.
Both parties can however, agree to longer notice periods and this is often the case.
As long as the contractual notice period is equal to or longer than the statutory minimum, then the parties are bound by the agreed period in the contract.
The statutory notice obligations on employers are:
1. Nothing in the first month;
2. One week for the first year;
3. One week plus another week for each completed year of service up to a maximum of 12 weeks.
The statutory notice obligation on employees is no less than one week, regardless of length of service.
Some employers get tangled up when there is a notice period during a probationary period, that’s shorter than the notice required outside of probation. It is best to ensure your contracts of employment are clear on this point and whether the employee can give shorter notice too.