Statutory notice period
Statutory notice period: a quick guide for employers
Posted by Stuart Falconer • October 26, 2021

If I’d been given £1 for every time I’ve explained the principle of the statutory notice period to an employer, I would be a rich man. It’s not that it’s complicated – perhaps it’s just difficult to remember. This blog post explains the statutory notice period whether you have some idea or no idea at all. If it’s the first time you’ve heard an explanation and this helps it all make sense, then I’m a happy HR consultant indeed!

What is the statutory notice period?

Statutory notice is the MINIMUM notice required BY LAW when someone’s employment has ended. That minimum notice is different when applying it to someone who has resigned to someone who has had their contract terminated for whatever reason by their employer.

Contractual notice is whatever an employer chooses to put in their contracts of employment. This cannot be shorter than the statutory notice period.

Does that make sense? Some examples might help illustrate the point . . .

Statutory notice period when an employee resigns

If an employee resigns within their first month of employment, then no notice is required. If they resign after having been employed for one month, they must provide one week’s notice of their intention to leave.

However, if their employment contract stipulates that they must give one month’s notice, that contractual notice supersedes the statutory notice.

Statutory notice period when the employer terminates the employee’s contract

As stated above, statutory notice is the MINIMUM notice required by LAW when the employer chooses to terminate the contract of the employee.

If the contract is terminated within the first month of employment, then no notice is required. If the contract is terminated after one month and before 2 years of employment, then one week’s notice is required. Thereafter, for every completed year of service, an additional week’s notice is required, up to a maximum of 12 weeks.

However, if their contract stipulates a different set of notice requirements, as long as they don’t fall below the minimum statutory notice period, then that contractual notice will apply.

What does this all mean?

Two things:

  1. You need to be aware of what the minimum notice required by law is to avoid unnecessary (and unlawful) squabbles.
  2. You need to check that the contractual notice periods in your employment contracts give you the security you need, at the same time as ensuring employees aren’t retained for an inappropriate length of time after either you or they give notice.

So, it really is pretty straightforward. We’re always happy help with any issues and queries you have so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call Stuart on 0345 095 0139 or email stuart.falconer@morganthomsonhr.co.uk.