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Notice & breach of contract

Correct procedure

The contract of employment usually sets out the notice that the employee is bound to give the employer, and vice versa, on termination of employment.

Failure to comply will constitute a breach of contract (wrongful dismissal). Where no notice is stipulated, reasonable notice must be given. 

What is reasonable in any given situation will depend upon the circumstances. However, the Employment (Jersey) Law 2003 sets out minimum periods of notice, which equate to one week’s notice for those employed for more than a week and less than 2 years and thereafter one week’s notice per year of service, with a maximum of 12 weeks.

Where contractual notice is less than the minimum period of notice set out in the Law, the minimum periods of notice set out in the Law prevail. The employer and employee may agree to waive notice or agree to a shorter notice period.

The contract of employment may set out the manner in which notice is to be given. For example, it may be a requirement to give notice in writing. Furthermore, the employer may include in the contract the power to make a payment in lieu of notice to the employee. There are a variety of issues that may arise in relation to notice, particularly with regard to giving effective notice, whether notice may be withdrawn, short notice, waiver of notice and payments in lieu of notice. It is important for the employer to have clear policies in place in this regard.

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