Resignation information

This page is for: 
EmployerEmployee / worker

This information is only relevant to employers and employees in the WA state industrial relations system – sole traders, unincorporated partnerships, unincorporated trusts and some incorporated or not for profit organisations. Find out more on the Guide to who is in the WA state system page.

If you operate or are employed by a Pty Ltd business – you can find information on this topic on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

Notice of resignation

Employees are entitled to resign from their job at any time and for any reason. 

When an employee resigns, he or she must give the employer notice of resignation. The required notice period is the number of hours, days or weeks required by any WA award that applies to the employment, or any employment contract the employee may have signed when they commenced work (an employment contract cannot require an employee to provide a longer period of notice than what is stipulated in a WA award). 

Visit the WA award summaries page for information on notice periods for resignation in awards. If unsure about whether a WA award applies, please contact Wageline

If there are no provisions in an award or contract of employment detailing the required notice of resignation, employees need to provide reasonable notice.  

There is no set definition of how much notice is 'reasonable', as this will depend on the circumstances. Through case law the courts have determined the following factors are relevant:  

  • the length of employment
  • the nature of the employment
  • the status, seniority and salary of the position
  • the employee's age
  • the employee's qualifications and experience 
  • the employee's length of service and degree of job mobility. 

Entitlements on resignation

Wages

If an employee 'lawfully' leaves his or her employment, the employee is entitled to receive payment of any unpaid wages owing to them on termination. Leaving employment lawfully means the employee gives the required period of notice outlined in an award or contract of employment, or reasonable notice if no specific notice period is applicable.   

If an employee does not lawfully leave their employment, some WA awards provide that the employer may withhold wages owing to the employee equivalent to the period of notice not given. However, under the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993 (MCE Act), an employee is entitled to be paid a minimum rate of pay for each hour worked, and this applies regardless of whether or not an employee lawfully leaves their employment. Where an employee has not lawfully left their employment and their award allows the employer to withhold wages for the period of notice not given, the employer will only be able to withhold the difference between the minimum rate of pay in the MCE Act and any higher award wage the employee is being paid. If the award wage is not higher than the minimum rate of pay in the MCE Act, the employer will not be able to withhold any wages owing to the employee on termination.   

If an award does not allow the employer to withhold wages owing to an employee on resignation, then all unpaid wages must be paid out.  

Annual leave

The conditions regarding payment of annual leave on resignation can vary depending on whether or not an employee is covered by a WA award. 

If an employee is award free

When an employee resigns, any untaken fully accrued annual leave that relates to a completed year of service must be paid out on termination. This applies regardless of whether or not the employee has lawfully left their employment. 

An employee must also be paid out any untaken pro rata annual leave on resignation, provided the employee lawfully left their employment. If the employee has not lawfully left their employment there is no obligation on the employer to pay out pro rata annual leave. 

If an employee is covered by an award

When an employee resigns, any untaken fully accrued annual leave that relates to a completed year of service must be paid out on termination. This applies regardless of whether or not the employee lawfully left their employment. 

An employee must also be paid out any untaken pro rata annual leave on resignation, provided the employee lawfully left their employment. If the employee has not lawfully left their employment (i.e. they have not given the required period of notice under the award) then whether or not they are entitled to receive pro rata annual leave on termination depends on the annual leave provisions in the award. 

Visit the WA award summaries page for award specific information on the payment of pro rata annual leave on resignation. If unsure about whether a WA award applies, please contact Wageline

Annual leave loading

Annual leave loading is not a minimum condition of employment for the purposes of the MCE Act. However, many awards, and some contracts of employment, require employers to pay annual leave loading. Provisions regarding the payout of annual leave loading on termination vary between awards.

Visit the WA award summaries page for award specific information on the payment of annual leave loading on termination. If unsure about whether a WA award applies, please contact Wageline

Long Service Leave

The information in this section relates specifically to the provisions of the Long Service Leave Act 1958, which applies to many, but not all, businesses in WA. If the Long Service Leave Act does not apply to a particular business, the information below may not be applicable.  

When an employee resigns, the employee is entitled to long service leave as follows:

  • If the employee has completed at least 7 years but less than 10 years of continuous employment - the employee is entitled to be paid out pro rata long service leave on a proportionate basis of 8 2/3 weeks for 10 years of continuous employment (equivalent to 0.8667 weeks per year). This calculation is based on all service, including years, months and days of employment.
  • If the employee has already accrued a full entitlement to long service leave (i.e. they have completed at least 10 years of continuous employment) - the employee is entitled to be paid out any untaken long service leave on a proportionate basis of 8 2/3 weeks for 10 years of continuous employment. This calculation is based on completed years of service only. For instance, an employee with 11 completed years of continuous service who has not taken any long service leave would be entitled to 9.53 weeks' pay on resignation (0.8667 x 11). 

Visit the Long service leave page for further information on the payment of long service leave on termination.   

Statement of Employment

An employee can also request a separation certificate on resignation.  A separation certificate is a written statement specifying the period of employment and the job classification or type of work performed. 

Record keeping

All state system employers are legally required to keep employment records that detail time worked, leave taken and pay received by employees.

Learn more on the Employment records - Employer obligations page

 

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