When does an employee’s notice period begin?

The case of Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v Haywood looked at the fundamental question of when the notice was received – when it was delivered, or when it was read by the employee?

The timing of the notice is often critical. For example, in disputes about the payment or non-payment of a bonus or an entitlement to a costly non-actuarially reduced pension. The majority decision of the Supreme Court is that notice of termination of employment, delivered by letter, does not begin running until the letter is actually read by the employee.

Please bear in mind that this reflects the position of common law. The Supreme Court does acknowledge that the contract of employment can make express provisions “both as to the methods of giving notice and as to the time at which such notices are … deemed to be received”.

We will be happy to review contracts if required to ensure all bases are covered.

The content on this page is for general awareness only. It is not intended to constitute professional or legal advice. Changes to legislation may have happened since this article was published. The contents of this article should not be used as a basis for action and the reader should be advised to seek the appropriate professional advice based on their individual circumstances.

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