short service employee

What is a Short Service Employee?

In today’s age where it is common for employees to move frequently between employers, being a short-service employee or having short-service employees is also common.  

It is important to know your rights as a short-service employee or short-service worker. Alternatively, as an employer who has recently made a new hire and therefore employs a short-service employee, it is important to consider certain unique considerations. 

What is a short-service employee? What are some common issues that arise with short-service employees? What are some considerations for short-service employees who have been terminated, or for employers who are considering terminating a short-service employee?  

The article below will answer the above questions, and explain how an experienced employment lawyer can help you determine your legal entitlements or obligations in the event of a dispute. 

What is a Short Service Employee?

Short-service employees are those who have worked for their employer for a relatively short period. Depending on the circumstances or complexities of the role, short-service employees could be defined as those who have worked for less than six months or even those who have worked for less than three years.   

Short-service employees can be within their probationary periods or could be past probation, depending on the terms of their employment agreements. The common thread between short service employees is that they have started working for the employer relatively recently.  

What are some of the issues that arise with Short Service Employees?

Employers should take special care when dealing with short-service employees. Short-service employees, by definition, may not have sufficient experience within the employer’s particular environment, even if they are experienced generally.  

In employment situations where employee safety is a concern, short service employees must be closely monitored. Short-service employees can be less familiar with safety procedures and policies. For employers, it is important to pay special attention to short-service employees to ensure they pick up on safety protocols.  

In circumstances where employee safety is not a concern, it is still imperative for employers to closely monitor and emphasize mentorship for short-service employees. Even if an employee has short service, they still represent your business, and may not have a solid understanding of the goals, vision, and values that they represent right away. It may harm your business or expose the company to legal risk to give a short-service employee unfettered responsibility.  

Short-service employees should be thoroughly trained and properly mentored to ensure they have every opportunity to succeed. Terminating a short-service employee who is no longer in their probationary period, without giving them a proper opportunity to succeed, can expose the company to risk. 

Considerations for Employers and Short Service Employees

A provincial short service employee who has worked for fewer than three months is not entitled to any notice pay under the Employment Standards Act, 2000, however, may still be entitled to common law notice. 

As an employer with short service employees they are thinking of terminating, it is important to keep in mind that short service employees may be able to claim a higher common law reasonable notice period than one might expect.   

An employee’s common law reasonable notice period depends on a number of factors, including an employee’s age, their length of service, the character of their employment, their salary, and other factors the court may deem relevant. Amongst these factors, length of service is often misunderstood as being the most important. However, courts have cautioned against this approach and have emphasized that the balance of these factors are more of an art than an exact science.  

Extenuating circumstances may make that notice period even longer. For example, executives or workers in higher-ranking positions are generally given longer notice periods, even if they are short service employees.   

Employees who are older, or for other reasons may have a more difficult time finding re-employment, may also receive a higher notice period payment. It is generally accepted that short service employees will have a more difficult time finding re-employment when they are terminated, given that they have a shorter term of experience in previous roles.  

If you are an employer looking to terminate a short-service employee, there is no substitute for tailored legal advice. Reach out to one of our experienced lawyers to receive advice on your specific situation, and help mitigate your risks. 

If you are a short-service employee who has been terminated, our employment litigation lawyers can advise you about your rights and entitlements, and next steps. 


Employing short service employees warrants special consideration, whether in the managing the employment relationship or in terminating the employment relationship. It is important to talk to an employment lawyer before taking any action that may affect a short service employee.  

Being a short service employee also warrants special consideration. There may be opportunities for terminated short service employees to claim a higher common law reasonable notice period than they would anticipate. Talking to an employment lawyer will shed light on whether this is a possibility in your unique situation.  

Contact Achkar Law

If you are an employer considering the termination of a short service employee, or a short service employee who has been terminated, contact Achkar Law today. Our experienced employment lawyers can provide tailored advice and help you understand your legal rights and obligations. Reach out to us for a consultation and ensure you are making informed decisions.

Toll-free: 1 (800) 771-7882 | Email: [email protected]

Need Legal Advice on Short-Service Employment? Contact Achkar Law

Whether you are an employer managing short-service employees or an employee facing termination, understanding your legal rights and obligations is crucial. Achkar Law is focused on employment law, offering experience advice to guide you through the complexities associated with short-service employment. From ensuring compliance with employment standards to securing fair notice periods, our team is here to guide you through every step.



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