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Leaving the job

An employment relationship can end for a number of reasons including when:

  • an employee resigns
  • a fixed-term employment contract concludes
  • a position becomes redundant
  • an employee is dismissed for poor performance or misconduct
  • an employee is dismissed on-the-spot for extremely serious misconduct, which is referred to as a summary dismissal.


If you wish to resign you may do so verbally. However, to avoid any misunderstanding, you should put your resignation in writing, clearly indicating the date of resignation.
If you are an apprentice there are special conditions for ending your employment. Contact the Department of Education and Training for further information.

Notice required

Most awards require you to provide your employer with some notice of your intention to resign. Notice periods and conditions vary from award to award. Make sure you check the relevant award to ensure you understand what is required when you want to resign.
If you fail to give the required notice you employer may forfeit your wages for that period.
Notice periods not covered by awards should be set out in individual employment contracts.

Confirm your resignation in writing

You should confirm your resignation in writing to your employer to ensure there is a record of the date your notice was given and your intended last day of employment.

Certificate of service

You should ask your employer for a certificate of service when you finish a job so you can show future employers when you started and finished the job and the nature of your work.

Sample resignation letter

Your Full Name
Your Address
Telephone/Mobile Number


Mr/Ms (Name of your Boss/Manager)
Job Title
Company Name
Address number and street name

Dear (Name of contact person), (if you don’t know who to address it to, use ‘Dear Sir or Madam’)

RE: Notice of Resignation

I wish to inform you that I will be resigning from my job as a (your job title), on (date), and I will conclude my employment (?) weeks from this date.

I have accepted another position that will further develop my skills. (you can give your reason for leaving but this is optional)

Working with the company has allowed me to gain important knowledge over the last (?) years (or how long you were employed).

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for letting me provide my services.

Yours sincerely
(your signature)
(your name printed)


End of fixed-term contracts

Fixed-term contracts stipulate employment for a specific period of time or for a particular task or project. Such contracts should contain the terms and conditions of employment including the date the contract concludes and notice periods required by the employer or employee.
Before ending an employment contract your employer should provide a written statement, indicating when and why the contract is concluding.


Redundancy occurs when the work performed by an employee is no longer required to be done by anyone. This can happen because:

  • the job is replaced by technology
  • the business is restructured and the job no longer exists
  • you can no longer afford to retain the employee due to economic circumstances.

Most awards require your employer to consult with you or your representatives if redundancies occur as a result of restructuring in the workplace. Opportunities to discuss the changes and ways to avoid redundancy such as retraining or redeployment should be considered by your employer.


Your employer must have a valid reason for dismissing you.
The reason must be based on:

  • poor performance
  • misconduct
  • extremely serious misconduct, resulting in on-the-spot termination (summary dismissal).

Your employer must provide a reason for ending your employment.

Take all warnings from your employer seriously. You should be given a written warning, but three written warnings are not necessary.

You may be dismissed without notice if you have:

  • acted dishonestly
  • refused to follow reasonable directions from your employer or person in charge
  • behaved so badly that instant dismissal is justified (eg fighting).

( [ACTU Homepage]

( [NSW IR Homepage]

( [NSW IR Homepage]

Termination or severance pay

If you are dismissed or made redundant your employers should pay you any outstanding entitlements. Except in special cases, an employee cannot be legitimately ‘stood-down’ without pay and special termination provisions. Your termination or severance pay must include accrued leave and accrued pay for time already worked. In instances of redundancy, severance pay may also be included.

( [State Training and Services DET homepage]



Copyright © 2011 Money Stuff

An initiative from NSW Fair Trading


Last Updated: 26 November 2012

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This information must not be relied upon as legal advice. For more information about this topic, refer to the appropriate legislation.

© State of New South Wales through NSW Fair Trading
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