Notice periods: How do they work?

So, your employee has suddenly resigned—don’t panic! Our HR experts have created a simple guide for calculating your employee’s notice period…

First published on Thursday, Feb 09, 2023

Last updated on Friday, Feb 10, 2023

3 min read

Notice periods come with a few different rules that apply based on the length of your employee’s notice period and the calendar month. But don’t worry our experts have broken it down to make it easy for you to navigate. Read on to find out more…

If your employee’s notice is in weeks

For most jobs, the minimum notice your employee must give you is one week, unless stated otherwise in their contract. This is so you can work on finding a replacement fast!

If your employee has a one-week notice period, it will usually start the day after they hand it in. For example, say your employee hands their notice in to you on the 4th of October, their notice will start the day after. So, this means it will run for seven full days from the 5th of October to the 11th of October.

To put this in more context, let’s say your employee has a five-week notice period and they hand in their notice on the 4th of October, the notice period starts on the 5th of October and your employee’s last day will be the 8th of November.

If your employee’s notice is in months

Just like with a weekly notice period, if your employee’s notice period is agreed in months—they will usually start their notice period the day after handing their notice in (as long as this day is a working day).

With this in mind, if your employee’s notice period is agreed in months and they hand in their notice on the 3rd of October, it will technically start on the 4th of October, but your employee’s last day will be the 3rd of November.

If a member of staff gives you their three-month notice on the 6th of May, their notice period will begin the day after on the 7th of May. But it will run out on the 6th of August.

Still with us and ready to tackle shorter months and leap years?

Tricky exceptions to the rules

Just like anything these rules aren’t set in stone. If your employee’s notice period falls in months like February, April, June, September, and November which are shorter months—you can expect your employee’s notice period to change.

This means that if four months’ notice is given on the 30th of October, your employee’s final day will be the 28th of February. But, if it’s a leap year, it will be on the 29th of February.

Looking for more notice period advice? Talk to our experts

Our expert employment law specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your notice period questions. Plus, as BrightAdvice is unlimited, you can call as many times as you like.

Speak to your BrightAdvice team today on 0844 728 0180.

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