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5 Things You Need to Know About Employee Notice Periods


Terminating an employee is never an easy job. As an employer, you are required to follow the Employment Standards Act, which outlines the legislation surrounding termination of employment including termination notice periods. Here are five key things employers should know before giving notice to an employee.

Employees Are Entitled to Written Notice

The Employment Standards Act (ESA) states that employees are entitled to written notice about employment termination. If they have been working for an employer for at least three months, the employer must give them an official notice of termination. Written notice should be addressed to the employee. It can be provided in person, or by mail, fax, or e-mail. Delivery needs to be able to be verified.

The Amount of Notice Depends on Employment Length

Employers may be wondering how much notice they have to give for employee termination. That length depends on how long the employee has been working for the business.  If the employee has been continuously employed for at least three months, they are entitled to the following notice periods:

  • Less than 1 year: 1 week notice
  • 1 year but less than 3 years: 2 weeks notice
  • 3 years but less than 4 years: 3 weeks
  • 4 years but less than 5 years: 4 weeks
  • 5 years but less than 6 years: 5 weeks
  • 6 years but less than 7 years: 6 weeks
  • 7 years but less than 8 years: 7 weeks
  • 8 years or more: 8 weeks
Continue Regular Employment After Giving Notice

The period after giving notice, and before termination is complete, is known as the statutory notice period. During this time employers must not reduce wages or alter the conditions of employment. They also are required to continue to maintain employee benefit plans. Employers must also pay the employee all the wages they are entitled too.

Notice Periods Can be Shorted By Providing Termination Pay

If an employer wishes to not wait the duration of the notice period or does not provide written notice to the employee, they must provide termination pay. Termination pay in lieu of notice is a lump sum payment equal to the regular wages for a regular workweek for the employee. Termination pay must be paid to the employee either seven days after termination or on the employee’s next regular payday, whichever is later.

Not All Employees are Entitled to Notice Periods

According to the ESA, not all employees are entitled to a notice of termination or a notice period. Employees who are guilty of willful misconduct, job abandonment, disobedience, or willful neglect do not have to be given notice. Other exceptions include construction employees, employees on temporary layoff, employees who refuse reasonable alternative employment and employees who have been employed less than three months. If you need help determining whether an employee is entitled to termination notice call our employer advice line at 1 (833) 247-3652.

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