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Employee notice periods differ across the world

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Employee notice periods differ across the world

Employees resigning in the US, Mexico, Hong Kong, Ireland, Singapore and UK have the shortest statutory notice period between resigning and leaving their place of work, according to data released by Mercer. The data, from Mercer’s “Global HR Factbook”, outlines the minimum legal requirements for notice periods for employees across 43 countries.

Unsurprisingly, practices vary significantly. Employees in Mexico are not legally required to serve notice before leaving their employment. In the US, there is also no statutory requirement, though two or more weeks’ notice is customary. Laws in Hong Kong, Ireland, Singapore and the UK require employees with a year’s service to give minimum notice of one week. At the other end of the spectrum, employees in Switzerland, Slovakia and the CzechRepublic must give at least two months’ notice.

The majority of countries require employees to give a month’s notice on resignation. These periods apply to employees with one year of service. In one in three countries, these periods will change according to an employee’s length of service. Also, individual contracts of employment may specify a longer period. 

Clive Wright, principal, Mercer UK, said: “In many countries, the actual notice period depends on the terms of the employment contract that an employee has agreed with his or her employer. It is interesting to note the lack of consistency, however, especially across regions like the EU where it is reasonable to expect more uniformity.”

In general, the same statutory notice periods apply to employers, except in a number of countries where employers must give longer notice. For employees with one year of service, longer notice is required in Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg and the Ukraine. In the UK, employees can give only one week’s notice where statutory requirements apply, while employers must give a week’s notice for every complete year of service, up to a maximum of 12 weeks.

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