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Employee Notice Period-Things an HR Must Know

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Workers leaving an organization is an unpleasant reality for which every HR must prepare themselves in advance. In these situations, HR managers must ensure a smooth exit to make the experience a pleasant one. Here, legal aspects like notice period, F&F, and experience certificates become crucial.

The aspects mentioned above are required to be followed by all companies with regards to exiting workers. These are imperative from not only a legal perspective but also hugely affect the quality of work-life.

Legal features like the notice period aids in the systematic and methodical execution of the exit process. As such, HR managers must know the key points about these legalities. Today, let's try to understand the things about the employee notice period in brief. Firstly, let's begin with the meaning of the notice period:

What is the Employee Notice Period?

The employee notice period is the time frame that a company is aware of an employee leaving. It is the period an employee works at the office after tendering the letter of resignation. Most commonly, these periods are for two weeks.

In this period, there are certain things HR managers must know how to handle the last days of the worker. Let's have a look at a few of these in brief.

Employee Notice Period-Things an HR Must Know

1. The Law

The Employment Rights Act 1996 entitles both the employer and the employee to an assigned time as the notice period. This law of the UK states that you must be compliant with these two points:

  • The notice period of workers who have been with your company for less than two years should serve two weeks' notice.
  • If the employee has been with your company for more than two years, the period becomes more than two weeks.

After the time frame of two years, the period extends by one week for each year worked. Furthermore, the notice period can accrue to 12 weeks, at the most.

2. Payment

An employee working in the notice period is also entitled to pre-determined employee compensation. Sometimes, it may happen that the employee and the employer mutually decide a notice period is not required. In this case, there must be proper reimbursement for the days worked since the last payroll.

3. Termination Cause

Sometimes, employee termination can be the result of misconduct. In this situation, the employer may wish to forego the notice period. Here, the law allows this provision as well. If you find that your employee has failed to meet your criteria, you can terminate their service without a notice period.

4. Garden Leave

Most workers may find a better employee package at your direct competitor in the wake of current corporate competition. Here, the situation becomes a bit delicate as you risk losing sensitive information to your competition. In this scenario, you can apply the clause of garden leave.

This garden leave allows the workers to stay within the company payroll for the notice period. Still, it restricts them from coming to the workplace. It is done so that the leaving employee doesn't have more access to more information about its working.

Garden leaves are beneficial for salespeople. If you have a few salesmen who just left, you would not want them to maintain any contact with your existing clientele. Here, the garden goes help to oversee this fact.

5. Restrictive Covenants

If you have restrictive covenants in your employment contract, you should also inform about these once again. Restrictive covenants are written at the employment contract restricting the workers of particular specifications. These can be as follows:

  • The leaving worker cannot work for a competitor.
  • Set up a directly related business.
  • Contact with the company's customers, etc.

These covenants are lifted after a specific time post-termination. You need to make these terms and conditions understandable to your workers. Failure to comply with these covenants also allows the companies to take legal action against the workers.

6. Specify Notice Period

Though the law specifies a certain number of days for the notice period, you must specify this in your employment contract itself. It helps keep things transparent and aids in a smooth transfer of employment. Here, you must know that a notice period cannot exceed 12 weeks. Furthermore, the notice period differs from contract to contract.

Here, a permanent worker and a probationary worker will have different days for the notice period. Generally, the permanent employee's notice period can be 30 days, while for probationary, it is around 15 days.

7. Employee's Rights

Your workers are entitled to more or less the same rights in their notice period as in their regular contract of employment. It includes the same salary, paid sick leaves, and other contractual employee benefits.

8. Work on Notice Period

The work on the notice period goes on as usual. Here, the workers need to give the knowledge transfer towards the ending days of the notice period. This helps the replacing employee carry on the work effectively and efficiently.

9. Notice Period Buyout Option

Sometimes, an employee becomes unable to serve the agreed-upon notice period. It can be because the exiting worker gets an immediate joining date elsewhere or other problems. In such a scenario, the worker is liable to pay the salary for the days failed to work during the notice period.

Suppose a worker has a 30 days notice period. Still, because of immediate joining, they may not be able to serve the notice period. Here, that worker must pay the company the amount equal to his 30-day salary. This amount is also known as the recovery amount adjusted in the worker's complete and final pay settlement.


The minimum notice period is a crucial aspect for both parties. It helps the employers find a replacement, plan for the future of work, and get the proper knowledge transfer. It allows the employees to get the appropriate time to wrap up their work and move on properly.

For these reasons, the notice period is imperative to understand for both parties.

This article is written by Jyoti Prakash Barman. He is an in-house Content Marketer at Vantage Circle with interests in music and automobiles. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com

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