Employee resignation without noticeEmployee retention is critical for your company’s success. Several companies have adopted employee retention strategies that keep their best talents around for as long as possible. But what if your best talents decide to leave without notice? Of course, that would hurt any employer. 

Is employee notice essential according to the law? Can you sue for employee resignation without notice? 

The aim of this article is to examine the legal landscape of resignation without notice and answer all the confusing questions. 

What is a Notice Period? 

Notice period means the period of time an employee gives before the end of an employment or job. It means the length of time you inform your employer of your intention to leave before you actually leave the job. The notice period required for different jobs differs. But you can find the required notice period in the following documents: 

  • Enterprise Agreements 
  • Employment Agreements 
  • Modern Awards

Can Employees Quit Without Notice in Australia? 

Under the Fair Work Act, a free or casual employee can legally quit without notice. However, employers may prevent this by including a minimum notice period in their employment documents. This enables you to avoid the frustration of losing your employee without any notice. 

While no specific notice period is specified for permanent employees, it’s best to follow the notice period in the employment contract. If the employee’s employment contract is silent about the issue, the employee should give reasonable notice prior to resignation. 

Should Employees Give Notice During Probation?

Yes, as a matter of fact. But the notice should only be for one week. After that, the employee may resign legally. The probation period is a trial time during which the employee needs to prove they are fit for the new role. The employer observes to see if they fit the role perfectly. At the same time, the employee tests the waters with the company to see if it suits them. 

What are the Consequences of Resigning Without Notice?

Employees and employers may handle abrupt resignations differently. That’s understandable, seeing as it has varying effects on both parties. Let’s break down the consequences for both parties. 


While the Fair Law Act doesn’t enforce notice before the resignation, employees may still encounter grave consequences. One consequence is a damaged relationship with the previous boss. 

The employer may reject a request for reference or any call for help in the future. Another significant consequence is that the employer may withhold final payment from the employee. The employee can only withhold some money depending on how much they may have paid under normal circumstances. 

Consequently, most employees avoid quitting with notice. They give due notice before resignation. 


Employers suffer significant consequences because they have to deal with the sudden loss of an employee. Without prior notice, an employer doesn’t have enough time to find a replacement. This could put the whole business on hold or make it drag while other employees struggle to pick up the slack. 

In some cases, the employees may have incomplete work that falls on other workers in the company. This arrangement is mainly uncomfortable for the employer. 

Can You Refuse To Pay the Notice Period?

It is tricky to withhold payment from an employee who failed to give notice. While paying in lieu of notice is possible, some modern awards may prohibit withholding payments. 

Before you withhold the payment, seek legal help or check all documents. You can’t take such action if the employment document prohibits it. 

Should an Employer Give Notice before Terminating Employment?

Yes. The National Employment Standards require employers to give notice before terminating an employment contract. In fact, they specified the notice period required for each employee depending on the circumstances. For instance, if an employee has worked with you for over 5 years (continuous service), you should give 4 weeks’ notice. An employee who has worked with you for less than a year may get a one-week notice. 

Final Words On Employee Resignation Without Notice

One of the numerous things that may affect an employer negatively is employee resignation without notice. It could affect business badly and cause a drop in employee satisfaction in the company. However, companies include a notice period in their contracts to avoid such abrupt resignations. This shields the employer from losing employees without warning.