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EVERYDAY LAW: Correct leave of notice


Cecil McCarthy

EVERYDAY LAW: Correct leave of notice

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Today I continue to look at other rights conferred on employees by the Employment Rights Act 2012 other than the right not to be unfairly dismissed.

A contract of employment can lawfully be terminated by giving proper notice. This is determined according to the terms of the contract. However, the Employment Rights Act now gives to the employee a right to a minimum period of notice where that employee has been continuously employed for one year or more.

The notice required varies with the length of service and the period for which the employee is paid (that is, whether hourly, daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly).

If the contract gives a right to a greater period of notice than the Employment Rights Act, the contract prevails. However, if the contract provides for a lesser period of notice, the contractual term is void and the provisions of the statute are to be applied.

For an employee who is paid hourly, daily or weekly the following applies:

• If the length of service is less than two years, a minimum notice of one week;

• After two years completed service but less than five years, two weeks’ notice;

• After five years completed service but less than ten years, four weeks;    

• After ten years or more completed service but less than 15 years, six weeks;

• After 15 years or more, ten weeks’ notice.

For an employee who is paid fortnightly the following applies:

• Length of service less than five years; minumum notice of two weeks;

• After five years’ completed service but less than ten years, four weeks;

• After ten years of completed service but less than 15, four weeks;    

• After 15 years or more, ten weeks’ notice.

For an employee who is paid monthly, the following applies:

• Length of service less than ten years; minumum notice of one month;

• After ten years’ completed service but less than 15 years, one-and-a-half months;

• After 15 years or more, two-and-a-half months.

It should be noted that the act preserves the right of the employer to dismiss without notice where this can be justified. In other words, the right of summary dismissal is still available.

• Cecil McCarthy is a Queen’s Counsel.

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