How Much Notice Do You Have to Give When Terminating an Employee?


Part of the 10 minimum National Employment Standards (NES) outlined by the Fair Work Ombudsman is the termination of employment.

Termination of employment is when the employee-employer relationship ends. There are different reasons a termination occurs. It is important to follow the rules about dismissal, notice and final pay. This article will focus on the notice of termination as outlined by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Notice of Termination

Employers must provide employees with written notice of the day of termination when ending their employment (with some exceptions). Employer may give notice to employee by:

  • Delivering personally
  • Leaving it at employee’s last known address
  • Pre-paid post to employee’s last known address

Some awards or agreements specify that a notice of termination is required so it would be best practice to consult a contract lawyer to review them.

Those exceptions mentioned earlier are:

  • Casual employees
  • Employed for specific period/task/season
  • Fired due to serious misconduct (e.g. theft, fraud or assault)
  • Employed for a set training arrangement period
  • Daily hire in building & construction, meat industry
  • Weekly hire in meat industry

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Amount of Notice Given?

The minimum notice period given to an employee depends on their age and the period of continuous service as shown below in the table also provided in the Fair Work Ombudsman Fact Sheet.

Period of Continuous ServiceMin. Notice Period
Less than 1 year1 week
More than 1 year – 3 years2 weeks
More than 3 years – 5 years3 weeks
More than 5 years4 weeks

As an employee, you must give them at least the minimum period of notice or pay them for that period at their full pay rate. In terms of age, any employee over 45 years old who has completed at least two years of service when they are given their notice are privy to an additional week of notice.

  • E.g. 51 year old employee has been working for 3.5 years and you have given them their notice of termination. That employee either works for another 3 weeks (+ 1 additional week due to their age) or is paid out for those weeks.


Terminating an employee is always a tricky situation and it would be best practice to reach out to one of our business lawyers who can review the free Employment Contract (Full Time). Before starting this process it is important to minimise any risks involved as the employee may decide to commence proceedings against their former employer.

Don’t know where to start? Contact us on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest lawyer marketplace.

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