Ending employment

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Coronavirus information: Find out about your workplace entitlements and obligations during the impact of coronavirus. We have information about the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme, pay and leave entitlements, stand downs from work, workplace health and safety, and more.

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.

If you’re ending someone’s employment, you need to meet certain obligations under the National Employment Standards (NES), including:

  • giving them any required notice in writing
  • if the employee won’t be required to work out their notice period, giving them payment instead of notice
  • paying them their final pay, including paying out any entitlements.

Remember to check your obligations under the relevant award, registered agreement and any employment contract or workplace policies.

If one of your staff members resigns, they may also have to give you notice and meet other obligations. In some circumstances, if an employee doesn’t give the required notice when they resign, their employer can deduct wages from their final pay. Check your award for details, including how much can be deducted, or visit Resignation – how much notice? for more information. 

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.

Notice & final pay

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

Visit our Notice and final pay section for more information about:

  • how much notice to give an employee when ending their employment, and how to give them notice
  • how much notice employees need to give you when they resign
  • when employees don’t get notice
  • final pay when employment ends.

Use our Notice and Redundancy Calculator to calculate notice periods that apply to your business based on the award that applies.

Redundancy

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).

 Visit our Redundancy section for more information about:

  • whether your employees are entitled to redundancy pay
  • redundancy pay and entitlements
  • consulting with employees about major workplace changes.

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'), which decides on cases of unfair dismissal.

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.

Learn more about unfair dismissal.

Further information can be found on the Commission's website external-icon.png .

Protections at work

Employees can’t be treated differently or worse because they have, or have exercised, a workplace right such as asking to take leave, taking or not taking part in industrial activity, or for other protected reasons.

Employees may be able to apply to state and territory anti-discrimination bodies if they believe their employer has unlawfully discriminated against them because of a protected attribute, such as their race, age or pregnancy. They can also apply to the Commission if they believe they’ve been dismissed because of a breach of their general protections external-icon.png or, in some circumstances, for unlawful termination.

Learn more about Protections at work and Protection from discrimination at work.