There are legal minimum periods of notice for both the employer and the employee to give when terminating a contract of employment. These periods are:

  • Notice to be given by the employer:
    • less than 13 weeks’ continuous service – nil
    • 13 weeks’ but less than 2 years’ service – 1 week
    • 2 years’ but less than 5 years’ service – 2 weeks
    • 5 years’ but less than 10 years’ service – 4 weeks
    • 10 years’ but less than 15 years’ service – 6 weeks
    • 15 years’ service or more – 8 weeks
  • Notice to be given by the employee:
    • less than 13 weeks’ continuous service – nil
    • 13 weeks’ service or more – 1 week.

These are the minimum periods of notice required by law. An employer can if they wish include longer periods of notice in the contract of employment. A balance needs to be made between the value of the employee to the business and the impact his or her departure would have on the business against the potentially negative implications of having a disenfranchised employee forced to work a long notice period, when their heart is no longer in the job. It is also important to note that an employer is not permitted to require an employee to provide greater notice when they intend to leave their employment than the employer is obliged to give when they are terminating the employee’s employment.