How should an employee give me notice to end their employment?
Notice should be given in writing and should be the correct period either statutory notice or as stated in the contract of employment, whichever is the longer.
What’s the difference between contractual and statutory notice?
Contractual notice is dictated by what’s in the employee’s contract of employment. Statutory notice is notice given by the company and it is worked out as one week’s notice for each year of service up to a maximum of 12 weeks’ notice.
If you give notice to your employee, you must give them either contractual notice or statutory notice, whichever is the longer.
Can I make a payment in lieu of notice?
It depends on the terms of your contract. If you have a clause that allows you to make a payment in lieu of notice then you can do so. If your contract is silent on the matter but you have done this previously you may be able to do it again. If your contract is silent and you have never paid anyone in lieu of notice then you cannot do so except if you agree this with your employee. If you want the employee to stay away from your premises during their notice period you can achieve this by putting them on garden leave.
What is “garden leave”?
Garden leave (also called gardening leave) is a period of time when an employee remains employed and entitled to receive all contractual pay and benefits but they are not required to work. It is most commonly used during a notice period where you do not want the individual to remain at work and you do not have the option of making a payment in lieu of notice. It is sometimes used during a redundancy process where redundancy has been confirmed and the ongoing presence of the individual may be disruptive or you want to give them the time and opportunity to find a new job.
Do I have to provide work during the notice period?
No. Provided you continue to pay the employee what you would normally pay them you do not have to provide work.
Can I tell the employee to stay at home during the notice period?
If your contract of employment allows you to do so, then yes.
Can I take away company property during the notice period?
Not usually unless your contract specifically says you can. During the notice period the employee is entitled to the same pay and benefits as if they were still working. Benefits would include a car, laptop, mobile phone and any other equipment or tools that are used by the employee in the course of performing their duties.
Can I take away access to our systems during the notice period?
If the ending of the employment is not amicable, for example it is a dismissal with notice, a redundancy situation or during a period of garden leave and you believe the individual may try to “sabotage” your systems, delete critical information, use your email or other communications systems to disseminate unhelpful information to clients and/or colleagues or intimidate colleagues, you may be able to justify revoking access to your systems.
How do I work out how much notice to give to my employee?
Check your employee’s contract first to see what has been documented. If you don’t have a contract, you should look at “custom and practice” for example, the notice period that was applied to a person in a similar role.
If you give notice to an employee who has worked for you for less than 4 years but there is a notice period of 1 month in the contract, then the 1 month contractual notice period applies.
If you give notice to an employee who has worked for you for more than 12 years and there is a notice period of 1 month in the contract, then you should give 12 weeks statutory notice.
Can an employee take holiday during their notice period?
It depends on what your contract says. You may be able to require the employee to take holiday during the notice period but you have to weigh that up against the need for a handover with a replacement. Some employers expressly state that holiday cannot be taken during the notice period and any holiday entitlement accrued but not taken as at the date the employment ends is paid with the final salary.