Part I - Act respecting labour standards
CHAPTER IV - Labour standards
The employer must give written notice to an employee before terminating his contract of employment or laying him off for six months or more.
The notice shall be of one week if the employee is credited with less than one year of uninterrupted service, two weeks if he is credited with one year to five years of uninterrupted service, four weeks if he is credited with five years to ten years of uninterrupted service and eight weeks if he is credited with ten years or more of uninterrupted service.
A notice of termination of employment given to an employee during the period when he is laid off is absolutely null, except in the case of employment that usually lasts for not more than six months each year due to the influence of the seasons.
This section does not deprive an employee of a right granted to him under another Act.
1979, c. 45, s. 82; 1980, c. 5. s. 7; 1990, c. 73, s. 36; 1999, c. 40, s. 196.
This written notice is an advance notice that an employer gives his employee informing him of the employer’s decision to terminate his employment. The objective of the notice of termination of employment is to humanize the circumstances surrounding the severing or quasi-severing of a contract of employment. This mechanism allows the employee to look for another job while retaining remuneration for the duration of the notice.
The period of notice varies according to the length of uninterrupted service with the employer:
One may conclude from section 82 that, where an employee refuses to work during the period covered by the notice, he loses entitlement to the indemnity provided for in section 83 ALS.
An employee who notifies his employer that he will leave his job for good within a period of one week, for example, cannot, if he is immediately dismissed, claim an indemnity greater than one week of wages (even if under section 82 ALS he is entitled to a notice of two weeks).
Moreover, a notice of termination of employment given to an employee during the period when he is laid off is absolutely null, except in the case of a seasonal worker who ordinarily works less than six months each year.
An employee who ordinarily works less than six months per year due to the weather conditions related to the various seasons does not enjoy the same benefits. The notice of termination of employment given to him during the period when he is laid off will be valid.
A notice of termination of employment given during a layoff period to a seasonal worker who usually works more than six months per year during a period when he is laid off is null. The employer must then pay the indemnity set out in section 83 ALS.
The third paragraph of this section only refers to the employee during a layoff period, and not if he is on leave without pay, on sick leave or other leave. The notice given during these periods will not be considered null and void.
In any other circumstance, the employer is required to give the employee a written notice in the time periods stipulated in the second paragraph of section 82 ALS.
It should be noted that a verbal notice or notice by posting does not correspond to the requirements of the Act and cannot be invoked, unless the employee admits that he was notified thereof or learned thereof within the stipulated time period.
Moreover, section 82 ALS does not create an exclusive recourse. An employee who benefits from a recourse under another legislative provision, such as Article 2091 of the Civil Code of Québec, may exercise it.
See the interpretation of section 84.0.4 ALS.