The decision to resign from your post is one that takes a lot of consideration. It furthers in complication when there are mixed sources citing varying leave terms and notice period requirements. Before you pen your resignation letter, understand your contractual obligations so you can best manage your exit from the business.

Just as your employer has taken care of you, the notice period is put in place to protect their interests and retain a transition period that will not impact the business. The notice period begins when a letter of resignation is submitted to the hiring manager or Human Resource department. Your exact notice period is stipulated in your employee contract, award or enterprise agreement. In some contracts, failure to give the minimum notice period will allow an employer to withhold money.

What happens when employees give more notice than required?

It is not uncommon for an employee to give a longer notice period than is required under contract. This then becomes a decision for the employer who can choose to honour that longer notice period, or advise the employee to work only the minimum notice period. Typically a discussion will take place at the time of the resignation wherein both parties will agree upon whether the full or minimum notice period is required.

Can an employee take leave during a notice period?

Requesting and using annual leave after a resignation has been tendered is at the discretion of the employer. If you are needed to work, your employer is within their rights to revoke your annual leave request. A workplace cannot force you to take annual leave during a notice period. Sick leave is another matter entirely, and employees are entitled to take it within their notice period provided they have sick leave. If you do not have sick leave remaining, the period will be taken as unpaid leave.

When don’t employees have to give notice?

There are instances in which an employee can resign, exempt from tendering a notice period. Casual employees and seasonal workers often have no contract that guarantees or requires a notice period, due to the arrangement which can also see an employer relinquishing employment immediately. Contracted and industry-specific workers are also free from notice periods, which also protects the interests of the employer who can absolve the arrangement as they see fit. A notice period does not apply if an employee is fired for serious misconduct.

What happens with the final pay?

When the resignation has been tendered and the notice period complete, many employees have little clarity over what the final payment includes and when it can be expected. Your final pay is the residual money owing to an employee after they finish their employment; often paid via payroll service providers. This amount includes outstanding wages owing, accumulated annual leave, and annual leave loading (if applicable). If it applies, payment in lieu of notice, long service leave and redundancy pays will also be rolled into this final figure.  Sick and carer’s leave will not be paid out upon a standard resignation.

The Fair Work Commission has recently ruled that modern awards should provide for unpaid wages and all other amounts due to any employee no later than 7 days after the employee’s last day of employment.  

Navigating a resignation can be challenging when it is a sensitive issue to seek counsel on. If you are seeking further clarification on what is expected of both employer and employee, contact i3Group with your enquiries.

Interested in more small business advice? Check out our master guide here!