How is notice determined?

Usually, the notice that the employer and employee must provide is agreed between the parties, as set out in the employment contract. The notice period may be the same for the employer and employee but not necessarily.

What is reasonable notice?

If there is no provision for notice, reasonable notice must be given. Reasonable notice would be determined by taking factors into account such as the seniority and salary of the employee and the market norm.

What is statutory notice?

Statutory notice is the minimum notice that must be given irrespective of what is stated in the employment contract. If the notice period in the contract is longer than the statutory notice, then the contractual notice will apply.

The statutory minimum notice that the employer must provide is:

one week’s notice if the employee has been employed for one month but less than two years
one week’s notice for each continuous year of service if the employee has been employed for more than two years but less than twelve years
twelve weeks’ notice if the employee has been employed for more than twelve years

The employee must provide the employer with one week’s minimum notice if they have been employed for one month or more.   

Can the employer and employee agree to waive statutory notice?

Yes, the parties can agree to waive or shorten statutory notice.

When is an employer able to dismiss without notice?

Usually, the employment contract will specify circumstances when an employer is able to summarily dismiss an employee. Examples could include gross misconduct, gross negligence, a material or repeated breach of obligations to the employer, conviction of an arrestable offence or, for instance, ceasing to be eligible to work in the UK.

Minimum statutory notice is still required unless the employee is guilty of misconduct.

Employers must also be aware of their general legal obligations, such as relating to unfair dismissal law.

Do employers and employees need to give notice to end a fixed-term contract?

No, fixed-term employment contracts normally end at the end of the term and the parties are not required to provide notice.

However, some fixed-term contracts allow the parties to give notice to end the contract earlier.

Also, it is important to note that the non-renewal of a fixed-term contract amounts to a dismissal. To defend an unfair dismissal claim, an employer would need to have a fair reason not to renew as well as follow a fair procedure.



Matt is the founder of Lombards and advises employers and employees on all aspects of employment law. Matt has built up exceptional experience and knowledge from his time at leading employment law firms, including at a well-known City employment law firm. Matt is an accomplished legal commentator, regularly appearing on Sky News to talk about employment law issues that affect both employers and employees and his employment law articles are featured in The Guardian and The Independent.