Resignation - how much notice?
When an employee resigns, they may have to give notice to their employer. The notice period:
- starts the day after the employee gives notice that they want to end the employment
- ends on the last day of employment.
An employee's award, enterprise agreement, other registered agreement or employment contract may set out how much notice (if any) they have to give when they resign. Employees should check the terms of those documents for information.
Under the Fair Work Act an award and agreement free employee doesn’t have to give notice to their employer before resigning. However, they may need to give their employer notice under their employment contract.
If an employee's contract is silent about notice, or the employee doesn't have a written contract, the employee might need to give their employer reasonable notice.
Visit our Employment contracts page to find out where to get more information about employment contract terms and conditions.
See our Who doesn’t get notice? page to find more information about when notice periods don’t apply to employees.
Use our Notice and Redundancy Calculator to find information about minimum notice requirements or select your award from the list below.
- Building, construction and on-site trades
- Contract cleaning services
- Don't know
- Hair and beauty
- Health support services
- Real estate
- Road Transport
- Social, community, disability and home care services
- Storage services and wholesale
An employment contract can't provide for less than the legal minimum set out in awards and agreements. Visit Employment contracts to find out where to get advice about any other terms and conditions in the contract.
Best practice tip
The employee should put their resignation notice in writing to the employer. Use our Letter of resignation template to help prepare a resignation letter.
What happens after an employee gives notice?
Once an employee gives their employer notice, the employer should make sure the amount of notice is correct.
An employer doesn't have the choice to accept or reject an employee's resignation. Usually employers will acknowledge an employee's resignation and then the employee works as usual until the end of the notice period, when their employment ends.
When the employer doesn't want the employee to work through the notice period
If an employer doesn't want an employee to work out the notice period, they should first check the terms of their award, enterprise agreement, other registered agreement or employment contract.
To find out more about what employers need to do, go to What happens when an employer doesn't want an employee to work through a notice period in our Library.
Taking leave during a notice period
An employee can take paid annual leave during a notice period if the employer agrees to the leave.
Notice can include public holidays. They don't usually extend the notice period.
An employee can take paid sick or carer's leave during a notice period if they give:
- notice of the leave as soon as possible
- evidence if the employer asks for it (eg. medical certificate).
No paid sick leave left
An employee who has used up all their paid sick leave may be able to take unpaid leave. They would have to give the employer notice and evidence.
Source reference: Fair Work Act 2009 s.22 and 117
Think a mistake might have been made?
If you’ve lost your job, contact the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) first if you think you were sacked because of:
- a reason that is harsh, unjust or unreasonable
- another protected right.
You have 21 days starting from the day after you were dismissed to lodge an application with the Fair Work Commission. Check the information at the Commission website to find out if you can apply for:
If you think you haven’t been paid everything you’re owed:
- read about Notice and final pay to find out what you should get
- see our Fixing a workplace problem section for practical advice on:
- talking to your employer about fixing your notice and final pay if it’s wrong
- getting help from us if you can’t resolve it.
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