Notice and Severance

Notice Requirement

Either party can terminate a contract by serving a notice. The employer is not allowed to terminate the employee without just-cause. The employer must comply with the employment code or model code while terminating, otherwise the dismissal is considered unfair.

According to the Labour Act 1985, notice period depends on a period of contract as follows:

- 3 months in the case of a contract without limit of time or a contract for a period of two years or more;

- 2 months in the case of a contract for a period of one year or more but less than two years;

- 1 month in the case of a contract for a period of six months or more but less than one year;

- 2 weeks in the case of a contract for a period of three months or more but less than six months;

- 1 day in the case of a contract for a period of less than three months or in the case of casual work or seasonal work 

During the probationary period, the notice for contract termination, given by either party, may be one week (in the case of causal or seasonal work) and two weeks (for other types of employment)

Under a July 17 2015 Supreme Court ruling, employers now have the right to terminate an employment contract by just giving the employee a three month-notice period, without any retrenchment costs. This has led to a wave of dismissals. The Zimbabwean Parliament is contemplating on making amendments in the Labour Act and requires employers to  terminate a contract of employment on three grounds: for disciplinary reasons in terms of a code of conduct; if the employer and employee agree; or if the employee has been engaged on a fixed-term contract for a specified task. If none of these three reasons apply, the employer has to go through a formal retrenchment process.

Source: §12(4 & 5) of the Labour Act 1985

Severance Pay

In accordance with the Labour Act, severance pay is available only for collective dismissals for economic reasons, i.e., retrenchment. Although Retrenchment Board fixed the severance pay differently depending on the ability of the organization to pay, the most usual is 03 months pay for one year of service.

Source: §12(C & D) of the Labour Act 1985

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