What, if any, is the minimum notice period to terminate employment?

Employment & Labour Law (2nd Edition)

Thailand Small Flag Thailand

The minimum statutory notice period is one actual prospective pay period for the employee concerned, but no more than 3 months’ notice needs to be given (if the actual pay period is more than 3 months). If the employment contract provides for a longer notice period, the employer would be required to comply with such notice period.

Under the LPA, advance notice of termination is not required if the employment is being terminated under any of the grounds in Section 119 of the LPA.

United Kingdom Small Flag United Kingdom

Employees who have been continuously employed for one month or more are entitled to a prescribed minimum period of notice of one week.

Where the period of continuous employment is more than two years but less than 12 years, it is a minimum of two weeks’ notice, increasing by one week for each additional year of employment, up to a maximum of twelve weeks’ notice. Employees are not required to give any minimum period of notice to their employers, other than as prescribed in their contract of employment.

The required notice will usually be stated in the contract of employment. If the contract of employment does not specify a notice period, there is an implied term that reasonable notice will be given. Contractual notice periods are often longer, commonly one month for junior employees, rising to six months for senior managers and directors.

Where the reason for termination of employment is the employee’s misconduct, the employer is entitled to terminate the employment immediately without notice. If an employer fundamentally breaches the contract of employment, the employee is entitled to terminate the employment without giving notice and to claim that he has effectively been dismissed by the employer, known as constructive dismissal. A fundamental breach of the contractual obligation to maintain the relationship of trust and confidence between employer and employee which is implied into every contract of employment is often cited as the relevant breach.

Canada Small Flag Canada

The U.S. concept of ‘at will employment’ does not exist in Canada. In Canada, both employment standards legislation and the common law combine to require an employer who terminates an employee without just cause to provide working notice or compensation instead of notice. No notice is required if an employee is terminated for just cause.

Under federal and provincial employment standards legislation, an employer must provide an employee with statutory notice of termination of employment or pay in lieu of notice. Unless the employee is terminated for willful misconduct, disobedience or willful neglect of duty, statutory notice is typically equal to one week per year of service to a maximum of eight weeks; however, more notice is required for group terminations in certain jurisdictions (see Question 2).

Common law
If there is a clear, enforceable agreement specifying a period of notice that complies with applicable employment standards legislation, the employee is entitled to the period of notice specified by the agreement.

If there is no enforceable agreement containing termination entitlements, the common law requires that an employer provide an employee with ‘reasonable’ notice of termination or pay in lieu of notice. It can be difficult to assess what constitutes reasonable notice because there is no set formula. The length of notice must be determined on a case-by-case basis, with reference to the applicable factors in each individual case, such as character of employment, length of service, age, and availability of similar employment.

In claims for wrongful dismissal, the courts have awarded employees notice pay of up to 24 months, and in rare circumstances more than 24 months. Typically, the more lengthy awards have been for long-service employees in very senior positions. However, some decisions have awarded significant notice periods in excess of 12 months to long service employees in relatively junior, non-managerial positions.

Like the common law, the Civil Code of Québec provides that employees are entitled to ‘reasonable’ notice of termination or an indemnity in lieu thereof. However, unlike the common law, the entitlement to ‘reasonable’ notice in Québec is a public order provision. As a result, contractual termination provisions purportedly to limit an employee’s entitlements upon termination will not be binding on Québec courts.

Philippines Small Flag Philippines

Notice is always required in terminations by the employer. The notice requirements, however, differ as to the kind of the termination involved.

For just causes, the employer must allow the employee to have a period of at least five calendar days to submit a written explanation to the employer.

For authorized causes, the minimum notice period is one month prior to the intended date of termination.

The full requirements of procedural due process will be discussed in Question 7.

Israel Small Flag Israel

The minimum notice period is set out in the Prior Notice before Termination and Resignation Law - 2001, which stipulates that the minimum statutory notice of termination that must be provided to a monthly employee (salaried employees) is one day’s notice for each month during the first six months of employment, and two and a half days for every additional month. A monthly employee who has worked for a year or more is entitled to one month’s prior notice. “Non-monthly employees” are entitled to prior notice according to a different calculation, according to their years of seniority at the workplace.

Other minimum notice periods may be set out in collective agreements or in personal employment agreements.

Sweden Small Flag Sweden

The minimum notice period for an employee is one month. The minimum notice period for the employer is also one month, but varies depending on the length of service. The minimum notice periods required by law (for employments entered into after year 1997) are as follows:

0-2 years of service - one months’ notice
2-4 years of service - two months’ notice
4-6 years of service - three months’ notice
6-8 years of service - four months’ notice
8-10 years of service - five months’ notice
10 years of service or more - six months’ notice

Please note that an applicable collective bargaining agreement may set forth longer notice periods.

Ireland Small Flag Ireland

Minimum statutory notice periods apply to all employees who have completed 13 weeks of continuous service with an employer. The duration of statutory notice required will depend on the length of service of the employee. Currently, the following minimum notice periods apply:

  • For an employee who has worked for between 13 weeks and up to two years: one week's notice.
  • For an employee who has worked for between two years and up to five years: two weeks' notice.
  • For an employee who has worked for between five years and up to ten years: four weeks' notice.
  • For an employee who has worked for between ten years and up to 15 years: six weeks' notice.
  • For an employee who has worked for 15 years or more: eight weeks' notice.

The employment contract can provide for longer notice periods but cannot provide for periods shorter than the statutory minimum. If there is no express notice provision in the employment contract, the courts may decide that the employee has the right to a reasonable notice period as determined in the specific circumstances of the employee.

Germany Small Flag Germany

The basic statutory dismissal period is four weeks to the 15th or the last day of a calendar month. This notice period increases depending on the seniority of the employee. If the parties agree to a probationary period of no longer than six months, the dismissal notice period is two weeks only.

Collective bargaining agreements sometime provide for shorter or longer notice periods.

France Small Flag France

Notice periods are determined by the applicable branch collective bargaining agreement (CBA) depending on the employee’s categories and length of service. The notice period would typically amount to one or two months for blue-collar and administrative employees, and three months for employees of managerial status (“cadres”). Some CBA’s provide for shorter or longer notice periods.

Concerning the trial period, the notice depends upon the length of service and amounts to a maximum of one month.

Finally, in certain circumstances, no notice period applies, especially in case of dismissal for gross misconduct, or for physical unfitness not caused by an accident at work or an occupational disease.

Finland Small Flag Finland

The length of the applicable notice period can be determined for each employee in his/her employment contract. The maximum length of a notice period is 6 months. Further, the employee's notice period may not be longer than that of the employer. If the individual employment contract or the applicable collective agreement does not include such provisions, the statutory periods of notice apply.

The statutory notice periods for the employer are fixed to the length of employment as follows:

Length of employment

Period of notice

up to 1 year

2 weeks

1 to 4 years

1 month

4 to 8 years

2 months

8 to 12 years

4 months

over 12 years

6 months

Correspondingly, fixed periods of notice applied when the employee terminates the employment contract are as follows:

Length of employment

Period of notice

up to 5 years

2 weeks

over 5 years

1 month

China Small Flag China

The employee can unilaterally terminate the employment contract by written notice to the employer 30 days in advance, or by written notice 3 days in advance if submitted during the probation period.

In relation to an employer terminating the employment contract, notice 30 days in advance or one month’s salary in lieu of notice must be given in the case of legal termination without cause (see question 1); while a notice 30 days in advance to the trade union or all employees is required in cases of mass redundancy (see question 2). Except for the period above, the employer is entitled to immediately terminate without any advance notice when the employee is at fault (see question 1).

Belgium Small Flag Belgium

For the employment contracts with an indefinite term, which have started as from 1 January 2014, the notice period to be respected by the employer can be resumed as follows:


Notice period

< 3 months

2 weeks

≥ 3 months and < 6 months

4 weeks

≥ 6 months and < 9 months

6 weeks

≥ 9 months and < 12 months

7 weeks

≥ 12 months and < 15 months

8 weeks

≥ 15 months and < 18 months

9 weeks

≥ 18 months and < 21 months

10 weeks

≥ 21 months and < 24 months

11 weeks

≥ 2 years and < 3 years

12 weeks

≥ 3 years and < 4 years

13 weeks

≥ 4 years and < 5 years

15 weeks

≥ 5 years

+ 3 weeks per started year of seniority

≥ 20 years and < 21 years

+ 2 weeks per started year of seniority

≥ 21 years

+ 1 week per started year of seniority

For employment contracts started before 1 January 2014, the notice period is composed from the addition of two parts: the first calculated based on the seniority until 31 December 2013 and the second on the seniority as from 2014, as described hereabove.

For the first part, the historical calculation applies, which means 1 month per started year seniority for white-collar employees earning at least 32.254,00 EUR gross on 31 December 2013, with a minimum of 3 months. For the white-collar employees earning less than 32.254,00 EUR gross on 31 December 2013, the notice period is equal to 3 months per started period of 5 years’ seniority. For the blue-collar employees, the historical notice periods determined at sectoral level of industry applies. These notice periods are shorter than the ones for white-collar employees.

Different notice periods may apply in specific circumstances, as for instance, reaching the statutory retirement age.

Austria Small Flag Austria

With respect to the notice period, Sec 20 of the Salaried Employees Act states that employers must provide at least a six-week notice period before they terminate an employee’s contract. This notice period increases with seniority, such as:

  • Two months after the employee’s second year of employment
  • Three months after the fifth year
  • Four months after the fifteenth year, and
  • Five months after the twenty-fifth year of service.

Austrian law also distinguishes between white-collar and blue-collar employees. Regardless of their length of service and in absence of any other agreement, all white-collar employees must give one months’ notice by the end of the month, whereas blue-collar employees and their employers must give 14 days’ notice. If no agreement has been made stating otherwise, then the Salaried Employees Act dictates that the only permissible termination dates must fall on the last day of a calendar quarter, but also allows CBA to modify this requirement to allow termination dates to fall on the fifteenth or the last day of each month.

United States Small Flag United States

Due to the at-will nature of most employment relationships, either the employer or the employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason or no reason at all, without providing notice, unless otherwise agreed. There are however limited circumstances, which trigger requirements, under the federal WARN Act, previously discussed in response to Question 2, and similar state law measures.

Another federal statute, the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) does not require pre-termination notice but imposes notice requirements in obtaining releases and waiver of age discrimination claims. Under the OWBPA,(which amended the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibiting employment discrimination and retaliation against employees and applicants age 40 or older an employee separation agreement that includes the release of an age claim will not be considered knowing and voluntary unless, at a minimum it (among other things) provides the employee at least 21 days to consider the agreement before signing and an additional 7 days to revoke the agreement if the termination is not part of an exit incentive or other employment termination program (including group layoffs).

If the termination is part of an exit incentive or other employment termination program (two or more employees), the employee has at least 45 days to consider the agreement before signing and an additional 7 days to revoke the agreement. In either case, the agreement is not effective or enforceable until after the expiration of the revocation period.

Switzerland Small Flag Switzerland

According to the statutory provisions, during the probation period (ie the first month of employment), the employment may be terminated at any time by giving seven days' notice. The parties are basically free to exclude, shorten or prolong the probation period as well as the respective notice period. The probation period cannot exceed three months, though (see art. 335b of the Swiss Code of Obligations).

According to the statutory provisions, after completion of the probation period, if any, the employment may be terminated at one month's notice during the first year of employment, at two months' notice between the second and the ninth year of employment and at three months' notice thereafter, all such notice to expire at the end of a calendar month. The parties are basically free to vary these notice periods. The notice period may be reduced to less than one month only by collective agreement and for the first year of employment, however (see art. 335c of the Swiss Code of Obligations).

In case the employer or the employee prove that they have good cause to do so, they can even terminate an employment with immediate effect, ie without observing any notice period (see art. 337 of the Swiss Code of Obligations).

Singapore Small Flag Singapore

There are no minimum notice periods to terminate employment. Any termination by notice should be in accordance with the employment agreement.

For employees covered by the EA who enter into the employment agreement after 1 April 2016, their employment agreements must state the notice period. In the absence of agreement between the employer and EA employee, the following notice periods will apply:

Length of employment

Notice period

Less than 26 weeks

1 day

26 weeks or more but less than 2 years

1 week

2 years or more but less than 5 years

2 weeks

5 years or more

4 weeks

Where the EA does not apply, and in the absence of an express termination notice clause, the common law generally requires that reasonable notice be given before terminating the employment relationship. What is reasonable is determined on the facts of the case.

New Zealand Small Flag New Zealand

There is no statutory minimum.

Most employment agreements contain a notice provision. Notice for waged staff is typically one to two weeks. Salaried staff in supervising and management positions often have notice of four weeks or one calendar month. Senior, management and executive staff can expect notice anywhere from three to 12 months (or longer). Most employment agreements also require notice to be given in writing to avoid any doubt as to an employer’s or an employee’s intention

If an employment agreement does not specify a notice period, then reasonable notice must be provided having regard to seniority/salary level, the nature of the role, length of service, company or industry practice and personal factors such as age, qualifications, and job mobility. The reasonableness of the notice period is determined at the time that notice is given, not at the time the employment agreement was entered into.

Italy Small Flag Italy

Under Italian Law the notice period – which is provided only in case of dismissal with justified reason – vary depending on the NCBA applied by the employer and on the seniority and level of the employee.

Mexico Small Flag Mexico

Under Mexican legislation there is no minimum notice period to terminate an employment relationship. That is, when the employer dismisses the employee the employment termination will be effective immediately. When an employer terminates an employee under the justified causes established in article 47 of the FLL, the employer must notify the employee within 30 days of the cause or causes of the termination, or notify the Labour Board, within five days following the termination.

Luxembourg Small Flag Luxembourg

Notice by the employer must be given as follows:

Length of service

Notice required

Less than 5 years

2 months

Between 5 and 10 years

4 months

More than 10 years

6 months

Notice takes effect only on the first or the fifteenth day of the month. Notice given before the fifteenth of the month takes effect on the fifteenth; notice given after the fourteenth day takes effect on the first day of the following month. The notice pay is paid at the end of each month like the salary and after deduction of the required withholding tax and social security contributions.

Spain Small Flag Spain

In case of redundancy dismissals, a 15 day prior notice must be complied with , although the employer may choose to replace it with payment in lieu of notice.

On the other hand, no prior notice shall apply to disciplinary dismissals.

In any case, it will be advisable to check if the applicable collective bargaining agreement establishes any specific provision in this regard.

Japan Small Flag Japan

The minimum notice period for dismissal is 30 days (Article 20, paragraph 1 of the Labour Standards Act).

India Small Flag India

Termination of employment of workman:

As discussed in question 2 above, depending upon the nature of establishment, the location of such establishment and the number of employees in such establishment, as per the ID Act, the employer is required to serve 1 / 3 months’ notice in writing to the employee being retrenched or salary in lieu of such notice.

The S&E Act applies to employees who work in shops, commercial establishments, residential hotel, restaurant, eating house, theatre and other places of public amusement. The compliance with the S&E Act is also required in case of termination of employees. The restrictions on termination of employment are categorised on basis of time that an employee has spent in his employment. In almost all the states in India, an employee can only be dismissed after being given (i) at least 30 (thirty) days’ notice in writing; or (ii) wages in lieu of such notice. However, no employee shall be entitled to the notice or pay in lieu thereof if he is removed on account of misconduct established on record.

Termination of employment of non-workman:

There are no specific legislations governing severance payments to non-workman. The non-workman shall be governed by the terms and conditions mentioned in their individual employment agreement. Therefore, the employer shall be required to comply with the notice period requirements as mentioned under the said employment agreement, subject to minimum notice requirement under the S&E Act, as aforesaid.

Updated: March 22, 2018