Generally, your employer can let you go whenever they want as long as they give you notice of termination. There are two ways your employer can give you notice:
- They can warn you in advance they plan to let you go. The time between the advance warning and the end of your employment is called the notice period.
- They can let you go right away, but then they have to pay you out. That is, they have to give you the money you would have earned during the notice period. This money is called severance pay.
If you had an employment contract, it may say how much notice or severance your employer must give you.
If your contract says nothing about notice or severance, you’re entitled to reasonable notice. There are several factors that determine what is reasonable. They include how long you were in the job, your age, the type of job, and the availability of similar jobs.
If you’re covered by the Employment Standards Act (see who’s covered), this law sets the minimum notice or severance your employer must give you, depending on how long you’ve been in the job. (Any notice set out in your contract can’t be any less than the minimum required under the law.)