What happens at the end of your employment?

A person’s employment can end for a variety of reasons including resignation, termination and redundancy.

If your employer terminates your employment, they should provide you with written notice of the date of termination.

The employee can be asked to work out the notice period, or otherwise will be paid in lieu of notice (unless it is a situation of summary dismissal).

Sometimes employers will ask employees to work out some of their notice period, and then pay out the remainder in lieu of notice.


The Fair Work Act provides the minimum period of notice for employees: If the employee's period of continuous service with the employer at the end of the day the notice is given is
  • not more than 1 year, the period of notice is 1 week
  • more than 1 year but less than 3 years, the period of notice is 2 weeks
  • more than 3 years but less than 5 years, the period of notice is 3 weeks
  • more than 5 years, the period of notice is 4 weeks
If the employee is over 45 years old and has completed at least 2 years of continuous service with the employer at the end of the day the notice is given, then the notice period is increased by one week.
Some Awards or Enterprise Agreements also contain the amount of notice required to be given by an employer, which may differ from the information above.  However, the information above provides the minimum notice requirements. The employee should also receive a payout of any accrued annual leave and long service leave (if applicable).  This will generally occur by the next regular pay cycle after the date of termination.
Case Study – Ryan*
  • Ryan is a pharmacist.  When his employment ended, Ryan was not asked to work out his notice period.  However, Ryan was not paid his payment in lieu of notice of 4 weeks that he was entitled to.
  • Professionals Australia wrote to Ryan’s employer identifying that under the Fair Work Act, he was entitled to be paid 4 weeks in lieu of notice.
  • Ryan then received his 4 weeks’ pay in lieu of notice.  This avoided the need to take any legal action to enforce Ryan’s legal entitlement.
* This is not the member’s real name
If you are not paid out your entitlements upon termination, you can contact the Workplace Advice & Support team at Professionals Australia for assistance.  Our phone number is: 1300 273 762.