Whether you're thinking of leaving your current job or the boss has told you it's time to go, you need to understand your legal rights when it comes to the notice period.
How much notice must I legally give?
If you've been employed for one month or more, the minimum notice period required by law is one week. However, it's likely your employment contract will include notice in it's terms, so check whether you should be giving longer.
If your contract doesn’t state a notice period you should still be giving reasonable notice and this will depend on your seniority and how long you’ve worked there.
How much notice should my employer give me?
Your employer must give you at least the statutory minimum period of notice. This period depends on how long you've worked there:
- Continuously employed for between one month and two years: one week
- Continuously employed for 2+ years: one week for each complete year (up to 12 weeks)
If you’re not an employee (e.g. a freelancer or contractor), or if you’re employed in a specific job (e.g. some civil servants or members of the armed forces), you might not be entitled to a minimum notice period.
Your employer can dismiss you without notice (summary dismissal) if you've committed gross misconduct. If your employer's behaviour is so unreasonable you're forced to leave then you can do so without giving notice (constructive dismissal).
Do I have a right to be paid if I leave without notice?
No. If you don’t give the right notice, you are in breach of your employment contract. If you want to change your notice period you should discuss this with your employer in advance.
Am I entitled to normal pay during my notice period?
Yes, you’re normally entitled to your contractual pay and benefits during your notice period.
What is payment in lieu of notice (PILON)?
PILON is money paid to you as an alternative to working your full notice period. It might be set out as an option in your contract, or used to cover potential damages for breach of contract.
If PILON is included in your contract, the amount should be stated. It should normally cover what you would have earned during your notice period: basic pay and commission, bonuses or compensation for loss of benefits (e.g. personal use of a company car or medical insurance).
What is gardening leave?
Your employer might ask you take gardening leave when you resign which means you'll have to stay away from work during your notice period. Gardening leave is normally used to prevent an employee taking sensitive information about the company to a new job with a competitor. You still have contractual duties (e.g. confidentiality) until the end of your notice, and you can be brought back to work if needed. You’re entitled to your normal pay and any company benefits.