Rights & Entitlements for Terminated Employees

If you’ve been terminated from your employment, its important to know your rights and entitlements.


If you’re losing your job, it’s a requirement that you be given notice of your termination. There is no particular form in which notice of termination must be given however its recommended that it be provided directly to you and in writing.  In addition to this you must be given ‘reasonable notice’ as to when your employment will end. This length of time may be stipulated in your contract or prescribed by legislation or an award.

Summary Dismissal

A summary dismissal differs to the above in that you will be immediately terminated from your employment and notice is not required to be given by your employer. A summary dismissal is most commonly used when there has been some form of misconduct.


Another way in which your employment may end is via redundancy. A redundancy occurs when an employer no longer requires your job to be performed by anyone. Redundancy requires reasonable notice and may include extra severance pay depending on your contract or award.

Unfair or Unlawful Dismissal

Unfair/unlawful dismissal occurs when your employer has terminated your employment in a unjust or unreasonable way. If this is the case, you may be entitled to damages however to apply for this, you must have been employed for at least 6 months prior to your dismissal (or 12 months if the business is classified as a small business – fewer than 15 employees). In addition, strict time limits apply and you must apply to the Fair Work Commission within 21 days of the dismissal. For more information on your eligibility, you can refer to the Fair Work Commission’s website.

Standard Entitlements

All employee’s are entitled to the following upon termination:

  • Accrued annual and long service leave entitlements;
  • Outstanding wages; and
  • Any pay in lieu of notice of termination (if applicable).

If you believe you have not been paid all of your entitlements, the Fair Work Ombudsman can investigate for you and take appropriate action.

If however you have taken leave in advance and have not accrued it all back by the time you are terminated, your employer may take any amounts owing from your final pay.