As a manager you need to decide if you need the employee to serve out their notice period.
Serving out notice periods
In many cases your employee has already found a job and may want to leave early.
If you want to keep the employee for the notice period, you’ll need to put that in writing. It is highly recommend that you outline your expectations of their deliverables within that notice period. This could include specific deliverables and quality required for a correct handover or simply keeping production up to the standard normally required.
Employees that have resigned have mentally checked out of working for you. Their attention is on helping their next employer. You might want to remind them that you want to give a good reference check for them, and that includes being able say that they left on good terms. Encourage them to go out on a win so they can be proud of what they have achieved.
A good handover means that that person who is taking over has detailed written up procedures on how to their job, the contact details of key people (suppliers, clients) that they need to do their job, the necessary passwords and access keys and a brief on the current work in progress.
Letting go before notice period
Your employment contract should spell out notice requirements. If you have not got one, the Fair Work act defaults as the minimum.
The following is from Fair Work’s website:
“When an employee resigns, they may have to give notice to their employer.
The notice period:
- starts the day after the employee gives notice that they want to end the employment
- ends on the last day of employment.
An employee’s award, employment contract, enterprise agreement or other registered agreement sets out:
- how much notice (if any) they have to give when they resign
- when an employer can withhold money if they don’t give the minimum notice period.
When an employee has resigned and given their minimum notice, their employer can:
- let the employee work out the notice period, or
- tell the employee to leave early and pay them in lieu of notice instead.
If the employer decides to tell the employee to leave early and pay them in lieu of notice, they need to pay the full notice period that applies for dismissing an employee. Any time the employee has already worked during the resignation notice period doesn’t count.
The amount paid to the employee must equal the full amount the employee would have been paid if they worked the full notice period. This includes: incentive-based payments and bonuses, loadings, monetary allowances, overtime, penalty rates any other separately identifiable amounts.
Notice periods don’t apply to employees who:
- are casual
- are employed for a specific period of time or task (eg. a fixed term contract)
- do seasonal work
- are fired because of serious misconduct (eg. engaging in theft, fraud or assault)
- have a training arrangement and are employed for a set period of time or for the length of the training arrangement (other than an apprentice)
- are daily hire working in the building and construction or meat industry
- are weekly hire working in connection with the meat industry and whose termination depends on seasonal factors.
Taking leave during a notice period
An employee can take annual leave during a notice period if the employer agrees to the leave. An employee can take sick leave during a notice period if they give:
- notice of the leave as soon as possible
- evidence if the employer asks for it (eg. medical certificate).
- An employer can’t force an employee to take leave as part of the notice period.
Ending the notice period early
If an employee has been dismissed and wants to leave during the notice period, the employer can agree to reduce the employee’s notice period.
If an employer doesn’t agree to reduce the notice period, the employee can choose to resign and give their own minimum notice. Any time the employee has already worked during the original notice period doesn’t count.
See Resignation – how much notice? for information about how much notice an employee needs to give.
If an employee doesn’t have to give notice under their award, registered agreement or employment contract, they can finish straight away.