Avoid the consequences of quitting without notice in Australia

We all need a change every now and then; it’s estimated Australians have an average of 13 different jobs in their lifetime! To facilitate this change, employees usually have to provide their employer with notice if they wish to resign. However, some employees find themselves quitting without notice in Australia. An employee’s award, enterprise agreement, other registered agreement or employment contract may set out how much notice, if any, an employee is required to give when they’d like to move on from the company. Business Kitz have composed this article to give you a hand navigating quitting without notice in Australia.

What is the required notice period?  

The minimum notice period differs between industries, but is generally contingent on how long the employee has occupied their role. The general notice period required in Australia when resigning is:

  • 1 year or less = 1 week.
  • More than 1 year – 3 years = 2 weeks.
  • More than 3 years – 5 years = 3 weeks.
  • More than 5 years = 4 weeks.

If an employee fails to comply with the minimum notice period, and they find themselves quitting without notice, an employer can deduct up to one week’s wages from an employee’s pay if:

  • The employee is over 18;
  • The employee hasn’t given the right amount of notice under the award; or
  • The deduction isn’t unreasonable.

Of course, there are always nuances to each industry, so we recommend checking your industry award. You can find tailored information to your sector by searching your industry via the Fair Work website.

What are the implications for employers when employees are quitting without notice in Australia?

Unfortunately, employees sometimes resign without providing significant notice. This can be frustrating for employers, but there are a number of steps that employers can follow to help:

  1. Check if and how an employee needs to give notice:
  • Review the applicable award, registered agreement or employment contract (Business Kitz have plenty of professional and clear employment agreements for purchase!) to see if it is stated that resignation notice is required. You can also find your award requirements via the list of awards

2. (a) If no notice applies:

If it is not stated in the award or registered agreement that notice is required, employers must pay out the employee’s entitlements, their full pay and there are no consequences for the lack of notice.

2. (b) If notice applies:

If after checking the award or registered agreement it is determined notice was explicitly required, the employer may be able to withhold pay from the employee. Deductions from an employee’s pay can only be made under certain conditions, of which can be found within the specific award or applicable agreement.

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When do notice periods not apply? 

Under certain circumstances you may not be required to provide notice of resignation to your employer. Under the National Employment Standards, notice periods do not apply to employees who:

  • Are casual;
  • Are employed for a specific period of time or task (e.g. a fixed term contract);
  • Do seasonal work; 
  • Are fired because of serious misconduct (e.g. engaging in theft, fraud, assault or sexual harassment);
  • Have a training arrangement and are employed for a set period of time or for the length of the training arrangement (other than an apprentice);
  • Hired on a day-to-day term in some sectors of the building or meat industry; or
  • Are weekly hire working in connection with the meat industry and whose termination depends on seasonal factors (but not where termination is due to other reasons).

An award or agreement may have different notice provisions for daily hire employees that could apply instead of those listed above.  

Legal advice

If you require further assistance on quitting without notice, our sister company Legal Kitz can help! They will assist with any business related matters, and offer a FREE 30-minute consultation to assist with any of your queries. Additionally, our subscription plan offers employers access to over 150+ legally compliant, employment, and HR related document templates to take the hassle out of the legalities of being an employer. Click here to find out more about our subscription plan.

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