The small business specialists
Phone: 13 12 49
Terminating an employee's employment should be done carefully. Before deciding to terminate someone's employment make sure you understand your obligations under their employment contract, award or agreement.
When you terminate an employee's employment you must provide the employee with the following:
The length of notice that you must give an employee is determined by how long they have worked for you, their type of employment and whether they are in the state or national system. For example if someone has worked for you continuously for more than one year but less than three you must give them at least two weeks notice.
An employer can provide payment in lieu of notice, which can be equal to or exceed the total amount the individual would have been paid for the required notice period.
In most cases full-time and part-time staff will be owed entitlements when their employment ends. These termination entitlements can include payment of any accrued annual and long-service leave.
Redundancy occurs when a position occupied by a worker is eliminated and the worker is dismissed. The position, not the employee, becomes redundant. The work done by the former employee, or some of it, may be performed by other employees, or the work may no longer be there.
There are a number of reasons why redundancy can arise. These include:
Businesses going through a restructure or operational change may lose talented people who have been valuable to the business and who it would otherwise have been happy to retain.
If you choose to make staff redundant it's important to manage the process well and to comply with the relevant legislation, awards, agreements or contract terms. You must provide:
Retrenchments should be based on business needs and should not be seen to be a reflection on the competence of those you let go. If handled poorly, retrenchments can reflect badly on the business, affect the morale of remaining staff, and potentially could loose you clients.
You must also provide Centrelink with the following information in writing:
Centrelink can also assist you with useful information to distribute to staff facing redundancy or retrenchment, and advice on how you can best support workers who will be made redundant.
For further information go to the Department of Commerce.
When it comes to unlawful termination, it doesn't matter if you employ staff under the state or national labour relations systems, because national law covers both.
In Australia it is unlawful to dismiss an employee:
The Fair Work Ombudsman website will provide you with further information on unlawful termination of employment in the national workplace system. Alternatively you can call the Fair Work help line on 13 13 94.
The Department of Commerce will provide further information on the WA state system.
Is where an employee is harshly, oppressively or unfairly dismissed. Claims for unfair dismissal can be made to the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission (WAIRC). There are a number of exceptions, so check the WAIRC site.
For further information, visit the Department of Commerce webpage on dismissing employees.
A person has been unfairly dismissed if the Fair Work Commission finds that:
Unfair dismissal applications are made to Fair Work Commission. An employee may not make an application unless they:
Are covered by the national workplace relations system
For further information on unfair dismissal in the national system, see the Fair Work Ombudsman website.