Employee Notice Periods

#hrfridayfact: Regardless of length of service an employee only has to give 1 week’s notice unless their contract states otherwise

Unless you have a clause in your contracts of employment which states otherwise, the statutory notice period that an employee needs to give to his or her employer when quitting their job is nothing in the first month, and just one week thereafter. This on its own is a good reason why you should issue a contract which stipulates your own employment terms, in a timely manner.

The Internet has dramatically affected staff recruitment in the employees favour. It’s now very easy to search and apply for jobs, and on an international scale. The extra competition has made it continuously more difficult for employers to recruit quality staff, not to mention more expensive. With employees becoming increasingly transient, employers need to make sure that they are getting their money’s worth.

Not setting a notice period means that statutory law applies which and just one week’s notice of resignation is required from the employee after he or she has completed a month’s service. The statutory notice does not increase with time served like it does for employers.

We recommend that you make the employee’s notice period contractual and therefore specific to each position as appropriate. The length of notice period to use will depend upon your industry and the particular job role.

Considerations when setting notice periods should include how easy it will be to replace any particular employee. Positions that demand specific skill sets or qualifications that may require some specialist recruitment will demand a longer notice period. Specialist Engineers or a medical qualification are good examples and a notice period of say, three months may be appropriate. This will give opportunity to recruit a replacement and include a period of hand-over so that the new employee can be brought up to speed by the person leaving.

Remember though that you’ll be tied into the longer notice period too, which may prove annoying if you have an underperformer. However you can overcome this with a contractual clause that lengthens the notice period once a probationary period has been successfully completed.

Unskilled jobs or those with a recognised transient labour force where workers traditionally come and go, might better suit remaining at just a week’s notice. In such situations where you decide not to ask the employee to work their notice, you will only be obliged to pay for one week, so minimising expense. Note that statutory notice periods that employers must give increases after two years’ service.

We recommend that even minimum notice periods appear in the employment contract to avoid confusion. It also keeps you in the habit of specifying a notice period when contracts are issued.

Further advice and support regarding notice periods and employment contracts in general can be obtained by contacting us on 01452 331331 or by e-mailing us at info@hrchampions.co.uk

17 August 2017, 15:10