Ending employment

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However someone’s employment ends, it’s important you follow the rules about dismissal, notice and final pay. That’s why we’ve created resources to help you easily work out what entitlements you do or don’t owe a staff member when their time at your business finishes.

Notice & final pay

A notice period is the length of time that you or your employee has to give to end their employment. If you end someone’s employment, you have to give them written notice. If they end it, they can give you written or verbal notice.

The amount of notice needed depends on the industry and how long the employee has worked for you. Use our Notice and Redundancy Calculator to calculate notice periods that apply to your business.

You may also have to provide your employee with some final pay when their employment ends, such as outstanding wages or unused annual leave. Learn more on our Notice and final pay page.


Redundancy happens when:

  • you don't need an employee’s job to be done by anyone any more, or
  • the business shuts down due to bankruptcy (also known as going into liquidation or insolvency).

If you make an employee redundant, you might have to pay redundancy pay. Find out if you have to using our Notice and Redundancy Calculator.

There may also be redundancy consultation requirements in the award or registered agreement. If so, you’ll need to follow them.

Learn more about Redundancy and consultation requirements.

Unfair dismissal

Unfair dismissal is when an employee’s dismissal is harsh, unjust or unreasonable. If an employee thinks they’ve been unfairly dismissed, they can apply to the Fair Work Commission external-icon.png ('the Commission'), who decides on cases of unfair dismissal.

If you have less than 15 employees, an employee needs to be working for you for at least 12 months before they can make a claim for unfair dismissal. If you have more than 15, they need to have worked with you for at least 6 months.

If you follow the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code (DOCX 25.5KB) (PDF 220.4KB) and you can provide evidence of this, the Commission will deem the dismissal to be fair.

Further information about Unfair Dismissal can be found on the Fair Work Commission’s unfair dismissal page external-icon.png.

Remember, ending employment can be a difficult time for both employers and employees. Our free online short course in having difficult conversations at our Online learning centre can help you prepare to have a discussion around ending employment.