Employers and employees alike tie themselves up in knots over calculating notice periods. Both are normally entitled to a minimal period of notice on termination of employment; for an employer, the notice period is either that set out in the employee’s written contract of employment or employment or as provided for by the Employment Rights Act 1996 (no notice for up to 1 month continuous service, 1 week for up to 2 years continuous service thereafter one week for every complete year of continuous service up to a maximum of 12 weeks), whichever is the longer. For employees, they must give either that set out in their written contract or, if one doesn’t exist, 1 week’s notice.
Notice starts to run the day after the employee is given or gives notice of termination and as expressed in the contract of employment or the 1996 Act, for example whether in terms of days, weeks or months. So, the notice period of an employee with a one week notice period, who resigns on Tuesday 1 March, will expire on Tuesday 8 March (which will be the last day of work).
Where the notice period is expressed in months it will expire on the corresponding date in the relevant month. For example, 2 months’ notice of termination given on 12 January will expire on 12 March.
If there is no corresponding date in the relevant month the notice period will expire on the last day of the month in which the notice expires. This means that notice of termination of employment given on 29, 30 or 31 January 2016 will expire on 29 February 2016.