A contract of employment can be terminated or ended by either the employer or the employee in different ways as follows;
By notice; either the employer or the employee can give notice of termination from employment. The notice must be in writing in a language understandable to the party receiving the notice. The employment act 2006 provides the different notice periods that can be given to either the employer or employee by the party terminating the contract.
- Not less than two weeks where one has been employed for a 6 month but less than one year.
- Not less than one month where one has been employed for 12 months but less than 5 years
- Not less than 2 months, where one has been employed for 5 years but less than 10 years
- Not less than 3 months where one has been employed for 10 year and above.
- If it is a probationary contract, 14 days of notice or payment for 7 days wages in lieu of notice.
- It should be noted that there is no agreement between an employer and employee that can exclude this provision of notice.
It is also important to note that an employer and employee can agree to pay in lieu (instead) of notice. The payment must be equivalent to the notice period required.
Expiration of the fixed term or task; this contract ends or is terminated upon the completion of the task in the contract or upon the expiration of the period provided in the contract. Under such a contract, no notice is given.
Death of the employee; a contract of employment can also be terminated or ended when an employee dies. This is because, by law, employment cannot be inherited or assigned to another person.
Non-payment of wages; a contract of service can be terminated by a labour officer on grounds of failure to pay wages to the employee after him/her instituting a claim of non-payment of wages in the labour office.
Summary dismissal: this is when an employer terminates the employment contract without/less notice to the employee for a fundamental breach of the contract.
- An employee can bring a complaint within 3 months to the labour officer that he/she has been summarily dismissed without justifiable cause.
- The burden of proving the justifiable cause lies with the employer.
- It is important to note that the reason for summary dismissal must be in existence at the time of dismissing the employee.
Dismissal: employer dismisses an employee after holding a fair hearing for misconduct. Before reaching the decision to terminate the contract of employment on grounds of misconduct, the employer must accord a fair
Procedure for a fair hearing
- The employer must communicate to the employee about his/her case or misconduct
- Allow her/him time to prepare for his/her case/defence
- Communicate to the employee the time, place and date when the hearing will take place.
- Allow the employee to have representatives or witnesses and to present his/her defence.