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Notice period not worked.

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 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 675 700.

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Employsure is New Zealand's leading workplace relations specialist, working directly alongside employers to set the solid foundations for...
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