Notice & final pay
A notice period is the length of time that an employee or employer has to give to end employment.
How to give notice
To end an employee’s employment (also known as firing or terminating employment), an employer has to give them written notice of their last day of employment.
An employer can give notice to the employee by:
- delivering it personally
- leaving it at the employee’s last known address, or
- sending it by pre-paid post to the employee’s last known address.
Employees who are resigning don’t need to give notice in writing - they can give it verbally.
Employment can be terminated during leave, but the correct amount of notice still needs to be given.
Can notice be paid out instead of worked?
Yes. An employer can either:
- let the employee work through their notice period, or
- pay it out to them (also known as pay in lieu of notice).
If the employer pays out the notice, the amount paid to the employee must equal the full amount the employee would have been paid if they worked until the end of the notice period. This includes:
- incentive-based payments and bonuses
- monetary allowances
- penalty rates
- any other separately identifiable amounts.
Notice during probation periods
If an employee’s employment is ended while they’re on probation, they still have to get or be paid out notice based on their length of service.
When an employee is terminated on the grounds of serious misconduct, the employer does not have to provide any notice of termination. However, the employer does have to pay the employee all outstanding entitlements such as payment for time worked or annual leave.
Serious misconduct is when an employee:
- causes serious and imminent risk to the health and safety of another person or to the reputation or profits of their employer’s business, or
- deliberately behaves in a way that is inconsistent with continuing their employment.
Examples of serious misconduct include theft, fraud, assault, or refusing to carry out a lawful and reasonable instruction that is part of the job.
Source reference: Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) section 117
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