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Notice Period Not Worked

Published November 13, 2017 (last updated on March 8, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Copywriter and Content Creator

An employee must tell their employer when they intend to leave so the employer has time to find a new employee to take their place. The time between an employee stating their intention to leave and the actual last date of employment is called the ‘notice period.’

Depending on the provision of their employment agreement, or collective agreement; an employee may have to work during their notice period or lose some of their final payment.

How Much Notice Does an Employee Have to Give?

This depends on whether there is a notice period in the employment agreement or not.

If there is no notice period in the employment agreement, employees should still make the effort to give reasonable notice. Some factors to consider when deciding how much notice to give include:

  • Duration of employment for the same employer or organisation

  • The type of industry and sector

  • How long it might take to find a replacement to fulfil the position

  • Common procedures in the workplace

Generally speaking, employers should receive at least 2 to 4 weeks of notice ahead of the agreed date of ending the employment relationship. Notice periods should be submitted in writing – not over the phone or verbally.

Final Payment Notice

When an employee gives reasonable notice to end their employment the final pay should cover up to the last day of employment. If the notice period is waived or the employee only works for part of the notice period, their final payment will reflect the amount they worked during the notice period.

Employers and employees can agree to any of these conditions or they can be part of the employment agreement.

If an employee does not give reasonable notice of their intention to leave, the employer may not have to pay the employee for any time after their last day of work.

In some circumstances, an employer may wish to deduct an amount from an employee’s final pay if the required notice was not provided. The Wages Protection Act 1983 provides protections for employees against unlawful deductions, and in some circumstances deducting from final pay for notice not worked may be unlawful. It is best to seek advice about your specific circumstances prior to deducting any money from an employee’s final pay.

Ending the Notice Period Early and Other Arrangements

There are a number of reasons why an employee might want to give resignation and end their employment. Some may want to start a new job or relocate to a new state or country for further opportunities. For this reason, it is possible for an employer and employee to negotiate the notice period terms to suit their specific needs.

Some of the most common requests from employees include:

  • Waive the notice period entirely (this is common for employees who want to start a new job sooner)

  • Work for only part of the notice period and not be paid for the time on notice period when they did not work

  • Go on garden leave

Keep in mind, these arrangements can only be made if both parties agree to them. It is not unlawful for an employer to decline if the request is unreasonable or detrimental to the business.

Last Days of Employment

In the lead up to the employee’s final day, they should tie up any loose ends in the workplace and give all company property back to their employer.

If an employee is unable to complete any remaining work before they leave, the work should be assigned to a team member who is capable of finishing the job. The employee who is leaving should also finalise their paperwork and let staff know where to find things, file documents and perform other relevant tasks.

For advice on how to manage notice periods in the workplace, contact Employsure on 0800 568 012.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much notice does a casual employee need to give?

Casual employees must meet the terms of an employee agreement, including meeting a specified notice period.  

If the employee agreement does not specify a notice period, the casual employee should still give a “reasonable” period of notice, accounting for:  

  • Length of service  
  • Responsibilities  
  • How long it is likely to take to find a replacement for the role  
Can an employee leave during a trial period?

Employees completing a trial period can leave before it has finished, but still need to give the employer notice. The amount of notice they need to provide will depend on the terms of the employee agreement. If a notice period is not specified in their agreement, the employee is still obligated to give reasonable notice, as defined above.  

What happens if an employee leaves without notice?

If an employee leaves without giving notice, or leaves without giving the amount of notice specified in their agreement, the employer may be able to deduct wages from their final pay. The amount an employer is allowed to withhold is determined by what the employee would have earned if they had provided their employer with proper notice. However, it is advisable to seek advice about your specific circumstances prior to making any pay deductions. 

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