A small spiral calendar lies flat on an orange and blue background, representing notice periods at work.
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How exactly do notice periods work?

11 May 2023

BrightHR’s Alan Price breaks down the common question of notice periods that can often leave employees and employers alike scratching their heads.

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 once it’s broken down, it can be much easier for you to navigate.

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 – which most employers will include. 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 in their notice to you on 4 October, their notice will start the day after. So, this means it will run for seven full days from 5 October to 11 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 4 October, the notice period starts on 5 October and your employee’s last day will be 8 November.

Click here to go to the BrightHR website.

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 3 October, it will technically start on 4 October, but your employee’s last day will be the 3 of November.

If a member of staff gives you their three-month notice on 6 May, their notice period will begin the day after on 7 May. But it will run out on 6 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 30 October, your employee’s final day will be 28 February. But, if it’s a leap year, it will be on the 29th of February.

By Alan Price

Alan Price is the CEO at BrightHR and COO at the Peninsula Group. A version of this article was previously published on the BrightHR blog.

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