27 April 2018 #Employment
The Supreme Court has recently confirmed in Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v Haywood that in the absence of any express provision in an employment contract, written notice of termination from an employer does not take effect until the employee has read it, or had a reasonable opportunity of doing so.
The decision upholds the Court of Appeal’s judgment which we previously blogged on (and set out the facts of the case) here. While the Justices in the Court of Appeal used different reasonings in their conclusions, the Supreme Court have now clearly set out that without an express provision in the contract, there will be an implied term that notice begins to run from when the notice is received and the employee has read, or at least had a reasonable chance, to read the notice.
The case shows the importance of express terms governing when notice is deemed to be received. In the absence of any express terms, employers can find themselves in difficulty when trying to terminate employment by a specified date if the employee has not had a reasonable opportunity to read the notice.