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Have you been fired or laid off?

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I have been fired. How much notice should I get?

The ESA has rules about the minimum notice of termination employers must give their employees. Most people who are fired or laid off have the right to more than the minimum notice of termination that is in the ESA. This is because of court decisions that say most workers should get what is "reasonable", not just the minimum amount in the ESA.

ESA notice periods:

The ESA minimum notice periods range from one week for people who have worked at least 3 months, to 8 weeks for people who have worked for 8 years or more. The Ministry of Labour can enforce only these minimum notice periods. If you want more than this, you will have to sue your employer in court.

If an employer fires 50 or more workers within a 4-week period, the minimum notice periods might be different. If this is your situation, get legal advice.

Getting more than minimum notice:

Here are some reasons that you might have a right to get more than the ESA minimum amount:

  • You worked for the employer for a long time.
  • Finding a similar job will be very difficult.
  • Your job was very specialized.
  • When hiring you, the employer convinced you to leave another job.
  • You are an older worker.

And you might have the right to even more termination pay if the employer:

  • broke laws, such as human rights laws, when they fired you
  • fired you in a cruel or insensitive way
  • fired you for an unfair reason, for example, they believed you did something bad and you did not
  • fired you because you were acting on your rights that are in the ESA
  • fired you because you raised concerns about health and safety in your workplace

The lists above are just examples. What you can get depends on your situation. Talk to a lawyer who knows employment law about how much termination pay you might be able to get. See Where can I find out more and get legal help?

With a lawyer's help, you might be able to agree on the amount with your employer.

Or you may be able to sue your employer in court. A court can decide that your employer has to give you more than the minimum notice in the ESA.