Do You Have To Accept Additional Notice?
I was recently asked to advise on two similar situations where employees had given more notice than was required. In both cases the contract stated one month, and the employee had given 3 months’ notice.
In the first case my client was happy to accept the longer notice. The employee was leaving to go travelling. The longer period of notice gave the employer longer to recruit and was confident that the employee would continue to perform during this notice period.
The second case was different. The employee was disgruntled, and my client was concerned about how he would perform during the 3 months. In fact, my client’s preference was to release him immediately as he was already showing signs of being disruptive. But my client did not want to have to pay 3 months in lieu (or have him work for 3 months).
So, what is the position?
The good news is that you can rely on the terms of the employment contract and you do not have to accept longer notice. However, you can choose to do so.
So, with the first situation, my client accepted the 3 months’ notice. However, just in case things did not go smoothly, we wrote to the employee and reserved the right to revert to the original contractual terms of one month. By doing this in writing my client protected his position.
With the second case, we wrote to the employer and confirmed that his notice was being accepted but based on the contractual notice of one month. My client had a further clause in the contract that allowed him to allocate holiday during the employees notice period, so the employee was asked to take his holiday during the month. The remaining notice was then paid in lieu and there was no opportunity for the employee to be disruptive.
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