When does an employee’s notice period begin?

  • Joanne Baker-Gabb
  • Thursday, September 13th, 2018

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

The timing of notice is often critical. For example, in disputes about the payment or non-payment of 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 at common law. The Supreme Court does acknowledge that the contract of employment can make express provision “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.