As an employer of domestic staff, you hope that you do not have to terminate their employment, but if you do, what type of notice must you give?
There are essentially two forms of notice which can be given if you decide to let an employee go. Firstly, Statutory, which revolves round how long they have been employed and secondly Contractual, which varies according to the specifics of the Contract of Employment you have given your employee.
Statutory notice is the legal minimum notice you can be given and is as follows:
If they have worked for less than 1 month, they are not entitled legally to any notice period.
However, if they have worked more than a month but less than 2 years you must give one week’s notice.
If the employee has more than two years’ continuous service you must legally give one week’s notice for each full year up to a maximum of 12 weeks.
The contract of employment you have given your employee, however, may provide for a longer notice period than the legal minimum. If that is the case, their contract rights of notice essentially override the legal minimum. If you fail to give what is specified in the contract you could be open to a claim of wrongful dismissal.
Even if the reason for deciding to terminate the employee’s employment is redundancy, you still have to abide by the above.
The only exception to these circumstances is if you are dismissing the person for what you consider is gross misconduct and in these circumstances no notice period need be given at all. However, the employee does, of course, have the legal right to challenge that decision at an Employment Tribunal.
But can you effectively pay you off the employee by giving you a payment in lieu of notice? The answer is, only if this is written into their contract of employment.
As always, we strongly advise taking appropriate legal advice before any such moves are made.