My employee left without giving notice

Employees may need to give notice under their award, registered agreement or employment contract when ending their employment. Employees can give notice verbally or in writing.

Use our step-by-step guide for information about your options if your employee has left without giving notice.

How to check notice requirements

Before you start - information you need

Steps to take

1. Check if and how an employee needs to give notice

  • Check the award or registered agreement for information about whether your employee needs to give notice. Find your award on our List of awards or use Find my award if you’re not sure which award applies.
  • Read the award or registered agreement to confirm what notice period an employee needs to give, if any, when they resign.
  • If no notice period applies then you can try to talk to your employee about giving you some notice so you have time to find someone else. You have to pay them all of their entitlements and can’t force them to give you notice.

2. Check if you can deduct an amount for notice not given from final pay

  • Check the award or registered agreement for information about withholding pay when minimum notice isn’t given. Deductions from an employee’s pay can only be made under certain conditions. If the award or registered agreement doesn’t allow deduction of pay when the minimum amount of notice isn’t given, you have to pay them all of their entitlements.
  • Make sure you know the correct deduction, if you can make one at all. If the award allows you to deduct pay for notice that was not given, you can only deduct money from wages. You can’t deduct from other entitlements, such as accumulated leave or other award payments.
  • Any deduction made must be reasonable.

3. Pay the employee’s final pay

  • Check the Final pay page to see what needs to be included in the final pay.
  • Pay the final pay owed to the employee. The employee’s award will set out when final pay needs to be paid by.
  • If there are any allowable deductions, they must be clearly recorded on the final pay slip.

Example: Employee failed to show up for work - not required to give notice

Max was a waiter at an Italian restaurant. He started there soon after he turned 20 years old and had worked 8 months. One day he didn’t show up for his shift. The restaurant manager, Diana, phoned him to find out where he was. Max said he wasn’t coming back because he’d found another job.

Diana checked the award for what obligations Max had for giving notice. She found that, as a casual under the Restaurant Award, Max did not have to give any notice.

Diana wanted to know if she could withhold wages from Max’s final pay for not giving notice. Since he was over 18 and didn’t have to give notice, the Restaurant Award did not allow her to deduct any wages from his final pay.

Best practice tip

Young workers are often unaware of the laws that apply to their employment. It can be helpful to explain the basics of the employment relationship to your young workers. That way, the young worker knows where they stand.

If you need more support

If you can't resolve the issue in the workplace using these steps, visit our Fixing a workplace problem page.

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Employer Advisory Service

Our Employer Advisory Service (EAS) gives eligible small businesses free tailored written advice on pay and entitlement issues.

The service assists employers in understanding and complying with pay and entitlement obligations under awards and the Fair Work Act.

If you’re a small business employer, learn more about the service, to see if you’re eligible and find out how to access it at Employer Advisory Service – overview.

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