Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.
Please could you kindly confirm how many weeks there are within a term? Please can you also advise what your position is within the school? Thank you
Hi Jill. Thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.
Many thanks for your patience. The relevant case in these circumstances is that of Przybylska v Modus Telecom Limited.
There, the employee Miss Przybylska, was employed on a 3 month probationary period, which could have been extended by the employer. During the probation her employment could be terminated with a week’s notice, with a longer period applying once the probation was completed. She was on holiday when her probationary period expired and the employer had not yet taken steps to extend her probationary period. A couple of weeks later she was dismissed with just a week’s notice, as required during her probationary period.
She complained of breach of contract and the decision was that she should have been paid 3 months notice, which would have applied after the completion of her probationary period. The Tribunal said that the assessment on whether to confirm the completion of her probation or extend it should have taken place during the probationary period and if it wanted to the employer should have extended the probationary period before it was due to expire. Therefore, if the employer has not taken steps to extend the probation before it expires, it would be assumed that it has been successfully completed and the terms that would apply following successful completion would be the valid ones.
Whilst the above case concerns the employer giving notice, the same principle applies if the employee was to give notice and the terms following probation would apply, in this case 14 weeks notice. That does not mean they can physically force you to remain there for that long and you could still consider leaving early if necessary.
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Thank you. If the employee fails to honour their notice period then they will be acting in breach of contract. The employer then has the option of suing the employee to seek compensation for damages resulting from their breach. However, in reality such claims are very rarely made. This is mainly due to the costs and time involved, also the relatively small damages that can be recovered. Also the employer has to show that actual losses have been incurred and often that is not easy to do. So whilst there is no way of predicting whether the employer will take this any further or not, chances are that they will not. A more likely outcome is that the employer refuses to provide a reference in the future or if they do, it could mention that the employee had breached their contract.
It is therefore best to try and negotiate a mutually acceptable notice period that would suit both parties. However, if that is not possible and there is a pressing need to leave early, that is still a possibility, subject to the risks identified above.
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