Abandonment of employment

Abandonment of employment is generally when an employee doesn’t:

  • come to work for an unreasonable length of time
  • have a reasonable excuse
  • speak to their employer about being away.

Modern Awards

Modern awards don’t contain abandonment of employment clauses. A small number of modern awards did contain these clauses but the provisions stopped applying from the first full pay period on or after 20 December 2018.

Do you think an employee has abandoned their employment?

An employer should make all reasonable attempts to contact an employee who they think may have abandoned their employment. This is because sometimes things go wrong and an employee genuinely can't contact their employer.

Employers who are concerned that an employee has abandoned their employment should seek independent legal advice.

Tips for employees

An employee wanting to leave their job should always check if they have to give notice. Check the Resignation - how much notice? page to find out about how much notice an employee must give.

An employee who is sick, or can’t go to work for another reason, should always let their employer know as soon as possible. Check the Leave page to find out about leave entitlements and obligations for employees.

View references

Fair Work Commission decision - Abandonment of Employment [2018] FWCFB 7433 - the Commission decided that abandonment of employment clauses aren't permitted or required in awards, and should be deleted and not replaced.

What to do next

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