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Notice

Q

We are making our employees redundant, how much notice do we need to give them?

A

Employees are entitled to receive minimum periods of notice upon termination of employment, which includes dismissal on the grounds of redundancy.  The amounts of notice due are:

  • at least one week's notice after one month's employment
  • at least two weeks after two years
  • at least three weeks after three years and so on up to 12 weeks after 12 years or more.

However, employees are entitled to receive longer notice periods than those specified above, where this is provided for in the contract of employment.  Further information on notice entitlements and rights during, is available from  nidirect(opens new window) and nibusinessinfo(opens new window).  Further information on Redundancy  is available from the Agency’s Advisory Guide – Advice on handling redundancy

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

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Q

My employer only gave me one month’s notice, though my contract says I should get three months notice, can I do anything about this?

A

Failure to provide the proper notice as provided for in a contract of employment could be viewed as a breach of contract and wrongful dismissal - where there are no alternative clauses permitting an employer to reduce the notice period. An employer should not provide less notice than  whichever is the longer notice period, contractual or statutory.

To enforce your contractual right to a contractual notice period it is suggested that you raise a complaint in writing with your employer in the first instance under the grievance procedure – details of which can be found in the Agency’s Code of Practice on Disciplinary and grievance procedures

If you are unsuccessful in gaining a satisfactory solution through the grievance procedure you may then make an application to the Industrial Tribunal for the outstanding notice period. To do this you need to get an ET1 form from the Office of Industrial Tribunals and the Fair Employment Tribunal, complete it and forward it to the address shown on the form

Where a problem or disagreement in the workplace is likely to lead to a tribunal claim the Labour Relations Agency will often be able to help employers and employees find a solution that is acceptable to both. This service is known as Pre-Claim Conciliation. It can save you the time, stress and expense normally associated with a tribunal claim.  You can find out more about Pre-Claim Conciliation at the following link or by contacting our Helpline service:

http://www.lra.org.uk/index/resolving-disputes/pre-claim_conciliation.htm

Further information on the Industrial Tribunal and on-line application details can be gained at www.employmenttribunalsni.co.uk(opens new window)  Once you have lodged your claim an officer from the Labour Relations Agency will contact you and he/she will try to resolve your complaint before going to tribunal.   This process is known as conciliation and is a very effective method of dispute resolution with an 80% success rate.

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

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Q

I gave my employer 3 weeks notice, though my contract said one week.  I thought I was being helpful to my employer, but she said she only needed me to give one weeks’ notice.  I am not able to start my new job for another two weeks and am out of work now without money – should my employer not have kept me for the 3 weeks?

A

An employee is obliged by law to give a minimum of one weeks’ notice if they wish to terminate their employment.  However, if the contract provides for a longer notice, they should give that notice period.

Where an employee gives a longer notice period than is required in the contract of employment, the employer can either accept the longer notice period or indicate that they do not wish the employee to give longer than the contractual period. In this instance the contract would come to an end when the normal contractual notice period has been served.  

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

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Q

An employee has recently resigned giving 3 months' notice – we do not wish to have them work their notice, is there anything we can do about this?

A

The right to pay an employee in lieu of notice must be permitted in the contract of employment; otherwise to enforce this would be viewed as a breach of contract by the employer.  However, the absence of such a clause does not exclude the employer and the employee from agreeing to a shorter notice period or to receive a payment in lieu of notice.  Therefore it is suggested that you consult with the employee with a view to reaching an agreement on a shorter notice period or making a payment in lieu of notice.

Further information on notice entitlements and rights during, is available from  nidirect(opens new window) and nibusinessinfo(opens new window).

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

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Q

My contract says I have to give 3 months notice, but I do not want to work this.  Can I work less notice than this?

A

You are obliged to work a longer notice period if it is specified in your contract of employment as failure to do so could be viewed as a breach of contract by you.  Your employer may, in these circumstances, have the right to sue you for any losses incurred as a result of your failure to work the notice period; however in reality it is rare for employers to do so. It is suggested that you discuss the possibility of a shorter notice period with your employer to try and reach agreement on the matter.

Further information on notice entitlements and rights during, is available from  nidirect(opens new window) and nibusinessinfo(opens new window).

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

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Q

I am on maternity leave but not intending to return to work after this is over, can I give my notice before my maternity leave is over and do I have to go in and work it?

A

Theoretically notice to terminate employment can be given by an employee during a period of absence from work, for example, sickness absence or maternity leave.  In addition an employee is entitled to receive normal pay during their period of statutory notice (1 week when an employee is resigning), even when work is available but they are unable to work their notice period because of, for example, absence on the grounds of illness or pregnancy/childbirth.  

If however an employee’s contractual notice is at least one week longer than the statutory notice period the employee will not be entitled to receive normal pay if they are unable or unwilling to work the notice and will be paid in accordance with any payment they are currently receiving, e.g. if they are receiving SMP this will continue for the duration of SMP.  If SMP has finished and they are no longer receiving payments they will receive no further payments during the notice period.  The employee will still be entitled to contractual benefits during this time.

Further information on notice entitlements and rights during, is available from  nidirect(opens new window) and nibusinessinfo(opens new window).

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

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Q

My employer has closed down their business and is insolvent.  I did not receive any notice.  Is there anything I can do about this?

A

Where an employer has become insolvent and an employee has not received any notice the employee may be able to claim payment for the statutory notice period from the Secretary of State out of the National Insurance Fund, which can be paid through the Redundancy Payment Service.  For further information about this and how to make a claim the Redundancy Payment Service can be contacted on 0800 585 811 or at www.redundancyni.gov.uk.(opens new window)

Any payments only cover statutory notice pay and not any contractual notice pay.  Employees can only claim for lost wages during this period and not other contractual benefits that would have accrued.

For more information see

nidirect (opens new window)

For more information download the  Agency’s publication Insolvency Information Pack

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

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