When notice takes effect

The Employment Appeal Tribunal says that for a dismissal to be effective it must actually have been communicated (i.e. the employee has received and read the letter and actually knows he/she is being dismissed).   

The ‘postal rule’ (i.e. that acceptance of an offer takes place on the date that a letter of acceptance is posted), does not apply to notices of dismissal.   

Email is deemed to be received on the day it is sent, so it is sensible to send an electronic copy to the recipient. 

In this way, a letter dated 25th Sept is deemed received on 25th Sept and can be relied upon to begin the notice period the following day.

Example: 3 months’ notice

If an employee’s contract requires 3 months notice of dismissal, and they are notified of the dismissal today (25th Sept), when will the EDT be? 

Answer: 25th Dec

But why?

Notice starts to run the day after it is received (because notice periods take effect in whole days not part days).  So notice received on 25th Sept starts to run on 26th Sept.   

Note that notice starts to run on the day after the day it is received, not sent.  

Three calendar month’s notice means what it says, and so {three months} notice that starts to run on 26th Sept expires on 25th Dec (if it expired on 26th Dec it would be ’three calendar months notice plus a day’). 

Effective Date of Termination (EDT)

This is a statutory concept and relates to when employment actually ends, it means the ‘date on which notice expires’.

Unfair Dismissal Rights

It is important to note that if an employee’s employment is terminated without notice within 1 week of the anniversary of 2 complete years’ service, then the employee can add the statutory minimum notice period of 1 week to their continuous service and use this to achieve 2 years’ service.