Termination

Your employer has to give you written notice if they fire you. The amount of notice you should get depends on the amount of time you’ve been working for your employer and on your age.

See the Notice periods page for your minimum notice entitlements under the National Employment Standards.

If you signed a contract or you’re covered by an award or agreement, you might be entitled to more - check it for details. Your agreement or contract can’t be less than the amount in the National Employment Standards. If it is then it doesn’t count and the amount in the National Employment Standards applies.

Exceptions

You are not entitled to notice if you are:

  • employed for a specific period of time
  • fired because of serious misconduct
  • a casual employee
  • on a training arrangement (other than an apprentice).

Find out more on the Who doesn’t get notice of termination page.

Check your award or enterprise agreement to find out the minimum notice you have to give your employer. Most modern awards say that you need to give your employer notice.  It’s also important that you check any contract you signed with your employer.

Some modern awards, agreements and contracts let your employer withhold pay if you don’t give enough notice.

If you’re not covered by an award, agreement or contract or they don’t say how much notice you need to give, then you don’t have to give notice. We always recommend that you talk to your employer and negotiate a suitable amount of time so they can find someone to do your job.

Most modern awards don’t require a casual to give notice. Check your award or enterprise agreement to find out if you need to give your employer notice. It’s also important that you check any contract you signed with your employer.

If you’re not covered by an award, agreement or contract or they don’t say how much notice you need to give, then you don’t have to give notice. We always recommend that you talk to your employer and negotiate a suitable amount of time so they can find someone to do your job.

You can use your personal leave entitlements (including carers leave) during your notice period. As with any other period of personal leave, you need to give your employer as much notice as possible that you’re unable to work. Also, your employer can ask you to give them evidence about why you needed to take personal leave.

Yes. If you want to use annual leave during your notice period, you should speak to your employer as soon as possible. Taking annual leave is generally by agreement - however your employer can’t unreasonably refuse your request to take annual leave.

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Yes, your employer can pay you instead of giving you the required notice.

They have to pay you at least the amount you would get if you worked during the notice period. For example, if you were entitled to 2 weeks notice you would get 2 weeks' pay instead, including any extra leave you’re entitled to if you’re over 45 years old.

No. Your employer can either:

  • ask you to work out your notice period, or
  • pay you instead of giving you the required notice.

They have to pay you at least the amount you would get if you worked during the notice period and then pay out your annual leave entitlement. For example, if you were entitled to 1 weeks’ notice you would get 1 weeks’ pay instead and have any annual leave you hadn’t used, paid out.

No.

Leave accrues whilst an employee is still employed and working for the business. If an employer pays an employee instead of asking them to work a notice period this ends their employment and leave stops accruing.

Redundancy is when an employer:

  • decides they genuinely don’t need your job done anymore, or
  • becomes insolvent or bankrupt.

You may be entitled to redundancy pay (sometimes called severance pay).

You are not entitled to redundancy pay if you:

  • have worked for your employer for less than 12 months
  • are employed for a specific period of time
  • are fired because of serious misconduct
  • are a casual employee
  • are an apprentice or trainee.

If you are employed by a small business employer, you are generally not entitled to redundancy pay. Check your modern award or enterprise agreement to see if you have an entitlement.

See the How much redundancy pay page for details about how much redundancy is payable under the National Employment Standards.

The amounts in the National Employment Standards are the minimum - so if you’re covered by an agreement or award that has less, the amounts above still apply. Your award or agreement might also have more - so make sure you check it first.

When it comes to redundancy pay, a small business employer is one that has less than 15 employees.

For help with calculating the number of employees for small businesses and redundancy go to Redundancy & small business.

If you have unused annual leave it needs to be paid out to you when your employment ends, at your usual pay rate.

You might also be entitled to additional money called ‘annual leave loading’ if your modern award or enterprise agreement includes this.

You should get the following in your final pay:

  • the rest of your wages, including penalty rates and allowances, for hours that you’ve worked
  • pay for any annual leave you haven’t taken (with leave loading if applicable)
  • pay for any long-service leave you haven’t taken (if applicable)

You may also get redundancy pay if your termination is considered a redundancy.

You should be paid out all of your entitlements either when you finish work or on the next scheduled pay day. If you haven’t received all of your entitlements it’s usually a good idea to get in touch with your employer and find out when they intend to pay you - mistakes can happen and the quickest way to fix them is to speak directly with your boss.

You can also try sending them a letter outlining what you think your entitlements are. If you still don’t get paid, you can make a complaint to us. We can help you resolve the problem with your employer. See the Complaints section for more information.

Yes, if you’re entitled to annual leave loading and you have some annual leave you haven’t taken. This applies even if your award, agreement or contract says it is not payable.

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If you believe you haven’t been paid out all of your entitlements in your final pay, you should first try to talk to your former employer. You can also try sending them a letter outlining what you think your entitlements are. If this doesn’t work, you can make a complaint to us. We can help you resolve the problem with your employer.

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Being on probation doesn’t change the amount of notice your employer needs to give you under the National Employment Standards. You’re also entitled to be paid out any annual leave that you accumulate during your probation period.

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Examples of serious misconduct are:

  • theft
  • fraud
  • assault
  • being drunk at work
  • refusing to do something lawful and reasonable that is part of your job
  • seriously risking someone else’s health or your employer’s business.

Unfair dismissal is:

  • harsh, unjust or unreasonable
  • not a genuine redundancy.

Claims for unfair dismissal need to be made with the Fair Work Commission within 21 days after the dismissal takes effect.

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The Fair Work Act 2009 prohibits employers firing employees for certain reasons.

For example, you cannot be fired because of:

  • your age, race or sex
  • being away from work because you were sick or injured
  • making a complaint against your employer.

Both the Fair Work Ombudsman (us) and the Fair Work Commission can help if you believe that you’ve been terminated for a prohibited reason. You should go to the Fair Work Commission in the first instance. General protections applications must be lodged with the Fair Work Commission within 21 days after the dismissal takes effect.

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Visit the Department of Human Services External link icon for information about giving or receiving a separation certificate.

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Page last updated: 23 Sep 2013