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Am I entitled to notice before being dismissed?

If you're dismissed from your job, you will usually have the right to a period of notice. This is the length of time between being told you have to leave your job and the day that you actually leave (the date of your dismissal). This rule doesn't apply if you've been dismissed for gross misconduct. Gross misconduct includes things like stealing from your employer or being drunk or violent at work.

There is a legal minimum period of notice you should get. This depends on how long you've worked for your employer. The legal minimum period of notice is:

  • one week, if you've worked for your employer for one month but less than two years
  • two weeks, if you've worked for your employer for two whole years
  • two weeks plus an extra week for each full year’s employment over two years. For example, if you've worked for three and a half years, you have the right to three weeks' notice. You can have a maximum of twelve weeks' notice in total.

You should never get less notice than the legal minimum, but your contract of employment might give you more notice than the legal minimum.

If the law does not give you the right to notice, for example if you've worked for your employer for less than a month, and there is no notice period in your contract, you will still be entitled to a 'reasonable' amount of notice. What is reasonable will often depend on your pay period. For example, if you are paid weekly, you could argue that a week is reasonable, and if you are paid monthly, you could argue that a month is reasonable.

In most circumstances, if your employer wants to dismiss you, they should follow special procedures. For more information about the procedures your employer should follow when they want to dismiss you, in England, Wales and Scotland see Sorting out problems at work and in Northern Ireland, see Dealing with grievances, dismissal and disciplinary action at work.

For more information about dismissal, including what counts as gross misconduct, see Dismissal. For more information in England, Wales and Scotland, see also Notice of dismissal in Employment fact sheets.

Other Frequently asked questions about work: