Aug 15

What is an Appropriate Notice Period?

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This post on notice period assessment will focus on employees. For employers offering a notice period is complex and based on the individual goals of the corporation and strategy. Any employer intending to offer an employee a notice period to terminate their job should contact us today.

Many Factors Affect the Notice Period

When assessing an appropriate notice period the many factors to be considered are complex and include length of service, type of job, availability of other jobs, enticement to join your employer, the method of termination, the age of the employee, the education of the employee, and any other personal or situational factor which could influence how long an employee would reasonably take to get a new job. The provisions of the contract signed with the employer is also an important factor in many cases.

How much notice is appropriate?

Generally if you are not receiving in the range of 3 to 6 weeks notice for every year of service then it is imperative that you contact an employment lawyer since it is likely that your notice period has been greatly underestimated by your employer. In this case your employer owes you more money, meaning more support to find a new job and you owe it to yourself to get that money which is owed to you.

Termination letters with tight deadlines

Employees are often faced with being given an offer of notice period that they are asked to sign off on within a very short period of time. Although you are given time frames these can often be extended immediately once an employment lawyer is involved fighting for you.

You can usually increase the initial offer

The question employees often ask themselves is “can I get more notice from my employer” and generally the answer is almost always “yes”, but that you need a lawyer. The original offer from your employer should be seen as an opening offer in an negotiation, not a ‘take it or leave it’ proposition.

Employers know that you might go to an employment lawyer and ask for the notice period that you are entitled to. Therefore many employers hold back on their offers a certain amount or percentage so that they have room to negotiate when they are contacted by an employment lawyer who might initiate legal proceedings. It is very rare that the offer you get from Human Resources is the final offer even before starting a proceeding, let alone after a lawsuit has been commenced.

You need an employment lawyer

Generally employers will not negotiate with employees directly since they know there is a very low chance that the employee will sue in the courts personally. Employers worry about being sued because if they are sued they generally have to hire their own employment lawyers at a high hourly rate to defend the motion.

Canadian Lawyer Magazine pegs the cost of a five day trial at over $90,000 for a firm with over 26 lawyers. Since this is higher than, or only slightly lower than, many employment wrongful dismissal claims it is often not worth it for employers to go to trial.

The best way for you to maximize your notice period entitlement is to contact an employment lawyer. Often these cases can be done on a results-based rate, meaning that you do not have to pay your lawyer if they cannot get you a better deal from your employer. This can often be win-win for a terminated employee.

If you are in the difficult situation of assessing your notice make sure to contact us at Monkhouse LLP for a free consultation.