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Notice Periods

Notice Period

Notice Period

Questions and Answers with our Employment Law Team

Our specialist Employment Law team outlines below the answers to some of the common questions asked by our clients in relation to employees handing in their notice.

How long should a notice period be?


As a minimum, employers must provide the employee with the following statutory minimum notice period in order to terminate a contract of employment:

Period of Continuous Employment  Minimum Notice 
1 month – 2 years 1 week
2 years – 12 years 1 week for each year
12 + years 12 weeks

This must be stated in their section 1 written statement of terms.

Parties may agree a longer notice period, but it must not fall below the statutory minimum. In the absence of an express agreement, the notice must be of a reasonable length.


If an employee has worked for an employer more one month or more, they must provide a minimum of 1 week notice to terminate their contract of employment. However, if the contract states a longer period, employees must comply with the same.

Do employees have to work their notice period?

If the employment contract has a Pay In Lieu Of Notice (PILON) clause in it, the employer has a right to pay the employee in lieu of the duration of their notice period. This means that the contract will end immediately and therefore so will any benefits the employee is entitled to.

If the employment contract does not contain a PILON clause and the employer pays the employee in lieu of notice, there will be a breach of contract. However, provided that the employee has been paid all monies that they are entitled, there may be minimal loss. On that basis, employees may wish to seek legal advice before pursuing a claim in relation to the same.

Lastly, if an employee wishes to leave earlier than the expiry of their notice period, they will be in breach of contract. This means that the employee will only be paid for the period they have worked and any accrued untaken annual leave as at the termination date.

Can I be placed on Garden Leave for the duration of my notice period?

Garden leave is when an employer instructs an employee not to attend their place of work for all or part of their notice period. Employees will still remain employed during this period and therefore must get paid as usual, including any benefits they are entitled to.

If the contract of employment contains a garden leave clause, the employer is entitled to exclude the employee from the workplace during their notice period. If it is not expressly provided for in the contract, there is a risk that the employer will breach an express or implied right for the employee to be provided with work on their notice period.

How can we help?

If you have any queries, please contact Annalie King, Partner and Head of our Employment Law team or Rosie Brighty at Kerseys Solicitors in Ipswich on 01473 213311Kerseys Solicitors in Felixstowe on 01394 834557 or Kerseys Solicitors in Colchester on 01206 584584, alternatively can email us at [email protected] or visit our website and click “Call Me Back” and a member of our Employment Law team will be happy to contact you at a time that is convenient to you.

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