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August 10, 2022

Notice periods in Europe: are they different?


Employee notice periods differ across the world for many reasons and are usually outlined in your employment contract prior to starting your role, with some being non-existent and as short as one or two weeks, and others being at least two months long. Although your notice period isn’t the most urgent thing to think about when starting a new job, it is important that you are aware of how much notice you will have to serve if you do decide to leave.

Your employer may ask you to serve a specific notice period length depending on your responsibilities, seniority level and even replaceability. If you’re working in a senior position, such as Managing Director or other types of Senior Management, you may be expected to stay longer in your role and even asked to help find someone to replace you. If you’re working in a more entry-level position, it is possible that you will have a shorter notice period.

However, this doesn’t always work the same way for every company and country. Let’s take a closer look at the approximate notice periods across Europe…


In the UK, you’re expected to serve at least 1 weeks’ notice if you have been employed by the company between 1 month and 2 years. However, you may in breach of your contract if you do not serve the requested amount.

Did you know…

Employees in the UK are, by law, only expected to serve 1 week’s notice where statutory requirements apply, while employers must give a week’s notice for every year of service, up to a maximum of 12 weeks.


The statutory notice period in the Netherlands is 1 month. As with most other countries, this will depend on the agreement you made with your employer prior to employment.

If the employees notice period is over 1 month, the employer has to give at least twice as long.


The minimum notice period length in Spain is 15 days – which is more precise than some others. Interestingly, there is no concept of garden leave in Spain which you tend to see a lot of in the UK.


Notice in Belgium MUST be given in writing, using the correct language requirements, and is based on seniority of the position.

This continues all the way up to 13 weeks of service if the employee has worked at the company for 8-9 years.


The minimum statutory notice period in Germany is 4 weeks to 7 months, depending on the length of service – which is the longest notice periods out of the bunch.


Usually, the notice period lasts between 1 and 6 months, depending on seniority. Denmark offer flexibility, as employees are entitled to reasonable notice if they haven’t already agreed a length of time.


On average, 1 months’ notice is sufficient in Norway.


If employed for under 2 years in Sweden, you’re expected to serve 1 months’ notice. If you have been employed for 2-4 years, your notice period will be 2 months. An additional month will be added for every year you work, up to 6 years of service.

Employer vs Employee

Although we have determined the amount of notice employees are expected to serve in different European countries, it is also widely known that employers are expected to give notice to those that are let go or made redundant in form of a notice payment.

Does your notice period match our research?

We have discussed Probation periods in Europe and how do they compare – check it out on our blog today.