Giving notice

To end an employment relationship either the employer or the employee must let the other know in advance.

What is ‘giving notice’?

When an employee or an employer wants to end an employment relationship, they must tell the other party in advance. This is called ‘giving notice’. It allows the employer to prepare for the employee’s departure and gives the employee the chance to find other employment.

The notice period is:

  • the amount of time between giving notice and the date the employment relationship actually ends
  • usually the same for employers and employees
  • usually in the
  • usually required to be in writing.

During the notice period, the employer and employee might agree on a plan for the completion and handover of any work, or other responsibilities.

Just because an employment agreement contains a notice period does not mean the employer can dismiss an employee for any reason. They must still follow a fair and proper process. This includes when the employment agreement is for a .

If an employee does not give notice as outlined in their employment agreement, the employer will still need to pay the employee for all the hours worked.

Pay and wages

If there is no notice period in the employment agreement

If the employment agreement does not have a notice period, then fair and reasonable notice must be given. This should reflect:

  • the length of service
  • the type of job
  • how long it might take to replace the employee
  • common practice in the workplace.

Depending on the role, 2 to 4 weeks’ notice is often seen as fair and reasonable.

Agreement not to work the notice period

An employer can agree to:

  • approve the use of some within the notice period, if for example, the employee wants to take a small holiday before starting their new job
  • waive all or some of an employee’s notice period. For example, this might happen if the employee is leaving for a new job and wants to start right away. In this situation, the employee will not be paid for the portion of notice period they do not work
  • put the employee on leave in lieu of notice.

Any agreement should be in writing and be signed by both the employee and the employer.

Leave in lieu of notice

Annual holiday pay

During the notice period

The employer and employee should agree on a plan for the completion and handover of any work. While the employee is working out their notice, they should:

  • work with the employer to make sure any essential work is completed or assigned to someone else
  • organise and document any important files and processes, to make sure others know how their filing system works and where to find things
  • put an auto-forward and out-of-office reply on their email and phone, clearly directing communications to someone else in the organisation.

On an employee’s last day

On and after the last day of employment, there are tasks both the employer and employee need to complete.

On or after last day of employment

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