Resignations – how much notice is enough?
Resignations trigger a series of steps between when an employee resigns and their last day at work.
Ensuring you're aware of notice periods, awards, and in lieu of notice options will ensure a smooth transition.
We've answered your questions.
Notice period - contract vs award
If your employee’s notice period in their contract is longer than the relevant award, how long should their notice be?
An employee’s notice of resignation is stated either in the relevant award, enterprise agreement or employment contract.
Your employment contracts cannot make an employee worse off than the minimum entitlements specified in the applicable award or agreement.
"However, your contracts can require an employee to provide a greater notice period than the relevant award, as long as it is reasonable," says CCIWA Employee Relations Officer Madeleine Pittorino.
"If your employee does not provide the notice period stated in their employment contract, they could be in breach of their contract."
Should you honour a longer notice period?
When an employee provides longer notice than what is required, it is recommended that you discuss the situation.
Inform the employee of their required notice, as per the relevant industrial instrument, and advise them the notice period mentioned in that instrument is the notice you will be accepting.
If, however, you are happy to accept the longer notice period provided by the employee, you can do so.
"It is important to keep in mind that you may be opening yourself up to paying a longer notice period, in lieu, if you later decide that you do not require the employee to work out their notice," says Pittorino.
Paying in lieu of notice
If you don’t require an employee to work out their notice period, you can choose to pay them in lieu of notice.
When paying an employee in lieu of notice, the employment relationship ends on the date of the payment.
The payment will include contractual, industrial award and legislative entitlements including, but not limited to:
- notice of termination
- leave entitlements; and
- contractual benefits.
An employee should be paid all entitlements within the first pay period following the effective date of resignation.