Notice period during probation

Notice period during probation

We took on a staff on a probationary period and stated in the offer letter that if the staff's work does not meet our standard between 1 to 3 months after date of commencement he would be entitled to a week's notice and vice versa. However, it did not specify what period of notice will be required if the employment is terminated before 1 month. After employing this staff for only 3 days we found that his work was so below our standard that we paid him for those 3 days and sent him a P45. He has now left our firm. We have not paid him the week's notice period and naturally he is demanding the same. We feel cheated that he only worked such a short period of time and yet we still have to pay for a week that he will not have worked.

Can anyone advice what the Employment Law states on this matter. Does the offer letter override the Employment law even if later is more beneficial to the employer? No contract of employment was issued at the time he left.

Finally, can we compel him to come & work for a week now even though he left about 2 months ago and is not presently working elsewhere? We can perhaps ask him to do low level work like photocopying, filing, etc? He was employed to do property letting work by us initially.

Look forward to any suggestions or ideas.


mike morrison's picture

Hi JerryFirst things first - do you really want this individual back in the building at all?

Also you need to tighten up your letters to include what the notice period is.

I would say pay the person the week and move on. The emotional cost and hassle is not worth it.

FWIW - I always recommend sending a person home as soon as practical after the decision to leave has been made (either way) and pay full notice period. Having someone in an organisation that does not want to be there is not healthy for them or their colleagues.


Whatever you decide to do about the ex-employee (and I agree with Mike's comments), I think you should take a critical look at your recruitment and selection process. You need to see if you can identify how you managed to recruit such an unsuitable individual in the first place, and how you can avoid any repeat of this in future.


kluxon's picture

The employee is entitled to the better of the stautory or contractual notice period.

If there is no notice stated in the contract then the statutory notice kicks in.

Under Statute there is no requiremnet for a set notice period for employees with less than one months service.

Therefore in the circumstances you describe he is not entitled to a notice payment.


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