When it comes to employment law and notice periods, one of the most common questions we’re asked is ‘what is their notice period if they don’t have a contract?’.
Of course, any worker you hire has rights under employment law, and employers also have rights when it comes to people leaving the business.
If you’ve got any staff members who are working without a contract, and you haven’t discussed a notice period and don’t have anything in writing…
Then you should expect the employee to give at least 1 week’s notice.
They may work a longer notice period but legally, they don’t have to – unless you’ve agreed to a longer notice period.
How Much Notice Should A Worker Give When Leaving?
The first thing to remember is that people leave for many reasons.
They might have found a new job, they might be relocating, they might be retiring, or they might be starting their own business.
And that’s just to name a few.
If you’ve got a good relationship with them, it should make the notice period much easier to handle. They may want to work a longer notice period to help you find a replacement, but there’s no requirement for them to do so.
Of course, if they have a contract, the notice period will be set out in it. Again, that is a minimum notice period, so if 1 month was the requirement, they are within their rights to give 3 months’ notice of them leaving.
If they had a fixed-term contract which has come to an end, then the terms in that contract are no longer valid. That means they are treated as having no contract if they continue to work with you.
Should I Give Them An Employment Contract?
If you’ve brought someone in to work with you without a contract, we’re assuming that there’s a good reason for doing so.
Having an employment contract means that you’re legally required to pay employer National Insurance contributions. It also means you’ve got to make pension contributions and gives an employee certain legal rights.
There are pros and cons to both sides and it will depend on the nature of their work with you.
If it’s on a casual basis, there might not be much merit in giving them an employment contract. But it’s worth thinking about if they’re a good worker and you want to secure their future with you.
How Should I Expect To Receive Notice?
Notice should be given either in writing or in person.
If you have a meeting where they give notice, it would be sensible to confirm this via email or in an official letter. Or both.
Once they’ve given notice and told you when their last day is, you can begin looking for a replacement for their role. There will also be legal and tax requirements to sort out, but this will depend on their contract situation.
If they give more notice than required, you can’t make them leave any earlier… if they have a contract. If they have no contract, then you have more freedom to end their work with you without any lengthy notice periods.
Their notice period will begin the day after they hand in their resignation. So, if they were to give one week’s notice on Monday, their final day would be the following Tuesday.
How Do I Protect My Business When It Comes To Notice Periods?
It might be a good idea to review your employment situation.
If you have a lot of workers who don’t have contracts, perhaps you need to think about offering some contracts if they do regular work with you.
It might be that you don’t offer any employment contracts…
But you should regularly review the situation with the help of legal experts.
When it comes to any legal documents, don’t try to do it yourself.
If you want any help with employment contracts, notice periods, and any employment or HR issues is ready to go, Gap HR are here to help. Give us a call on 01491 598 600 or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss.