Our question this week comes from our recent webinar on the National Employment Standards:


Does an employee who has worked for more than 5 years have to give a certain amount of notice under the NES to resign? if this is the case are we able as a business to have a policy to state periods of notice period if they resign?


The NES only sets the minimum notice periods that an employer has to give when terminating an employee. There are no minimum periods set by legislation for employee resignations.

That being said, awards, enterprise agreements and employment contracts often include express terms which require that employees give a specific notice period before resigning. If such terms exist, the employee will have to provide that amount of notice.

I would not recommend that you include minimum notice periods for resignations in policies. Policies are not contractual documents, and so will not be enforceable. The best way of ensuring employees have a minimum notice period when resigning is to include express provisions in your employment contracts. If your employment contracts for existing staff do not include such terms, then I would recommend having your contracts reviewed and updated, and then to roll out new contracts to your employees. I would recommend you get professional legal help with the re-drafting of your contracts, as well as advice about a strategy for rolling out new contracts to existing staff to ensure they are legally enforceable.