Giving more than their contractual notice


Whilst your contracts of employment clearly set out what notice you expect your employees to give you should they wish to leave your employ, it is common practice for employees to try and negotiate a shorter notice period to suit themselves.

However, on the odd occasion, you may come across an employee who wants to give you more notice than they are contractually required to.  If you do find yourself in this situation, it is worth remembering that you are not legally obligated to have to accept the extended notice period given by the employee and you can still hold them to the terms of their contract.  If you want to stand by the terms of their contract, it is important to confirm this to the employee in writing as soon as possible, as delaying sending a response could result in you accepting the additional notice period by default!

In some circumstances, a longer notice period might be acceptable, e.g. as it gives you more time to find a suitable replacement and train them up. Where you are prepared to accept a longer notice period, always confirm this in writing. The employee's agreed final working day should be clearly spelt out so that there are no misunderstandings later. At the same time, you should reserve the right to revert to the contractual notice period. This way, if the situation changes, e.g. their replacement is a quick learner, you will not be stuck with them and the cost of two salaries. If you do not reserve this right and things do not work out, you will have to pay the full balance of the agreed extended notice period. So it's vital that you protect yourself here.

Fiona Haworth. You can contact Fiona on

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