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Website URL : http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3968

Termination of an employment contract

Employees may terminate their contract by resigning or an employer may terminate the contract by dismissing an employee.

Employees' should make it clear that they are formally resigning and it would be best to do this in writing giving the correct amount of notice should be given. By law employees will need to give either one week's notice or the amount stated in the contract whichever is the longer.

Employers normally give employees at least the notice stated in the contract of employment or the statutory minimum notice period, whichever is the longer. The statutory notice required is:

  • one week if the employee has been employed between one month and two years
  • one week for each complete year of employment (up to a maximum of 12 weeks) for example, for two year employment the notice period will be two weeks, for six years of employment the notice will be six week.

Summary dismissal is dismissal without notice and is should only be used for gross misconduct, where a situation occurs that is so serious (such as theft, violence, fraud) that the employer gives no notice. However, employers should investigate the circumstances before making a dismissal and follow a fair procedure even in these cases.