Cessation of Employment


A person’s employment can end at the instigation of the employee, at the instigation of the employer or due to the operation of law. 

A person employed for a fixed period ceases employment at the conclusion of the fixed period.

In the event of the death of an employee, the procedures available below under Procedures and Forms should be completed as soon as possible. These procedures include the requirements for advising the deceased person's superannuation fund and the legal requirements relating to the payment of any salary or unused leave entitlements.

Cessation at the instigation of the employee

An employee may elect to end their employment at any time by either resigning or retiring. 

Employees are encouraged to provide as much notice as possible of their resignation or retirement to assist the workplace in workforce planning.  The following minimum notice periods apply:

Teaching Service:

  • principal and executive class employees: in accordance with their Contract of Employment (12 weeks or such other period as agreed in writing by both parties)
  • other teaching service employees: no minimum applies. 

Public Service:

  • VPS employees: in accordance with the Victorian Public Service Enterprise Agreement 2016 and the Nurses (Department of Education and Training) Agreement 2016 (4 weeks or such other period as agreed by both parties)
  • Executive Officers: in accordance with their Contract of Employment (4 weeks).

A probationary employee covered by the Victorian Public Service Enterprise Agreement 2016 may resign at any time within the probationary period by giving a minimum of two weeks' written notice to the employer.

To avoid any confusion or misunderstandings and to assist the principal/manager in determining that an employee has made a genuine decision to resign or retire, the employee’s notice of cessation should be in writing, unless circumstances do not permit. 

The notice should include:

  • the date from, and inclusive of which, employment is to cease (note: unless otherwise stated, an employee’s cessation of employment will take effect from the close of business on the date nominated in the notification of the resignation or retirement)
  • contact details for future communication purposes (including a private address to which correspondence may be sent if different to that already recorded on the payroll)
  • any other information the employee wishes to provide, such as a reason for the cessation.

A Notice of Cessation of Employment form is available below under Procedures and Forms, for any employee who wishes to use it.

The employer must be reasonably satisfied that the employee’s resignation or retirement is unequivocal and a voluntary exercise of their intention to terminate their employment.  Where there is cause for doubt, the employer should not accept the notice of cessation without first seeking clarification from the employee about their intentions.

Where the employer is satisfied that it is a genuine resignation or retirement, the employee’s notice of cessation should be accepted in writing. 

Once an employee’s notice of cessation has been formally accepted by the employer, the resignation or retirement has taken effect and it cannot be withdrawn without the approval of the employer.

An employee is required to resign if elected to State Parliament or if they wish to contest a federal election (see the Contesting an Election topic under Related Topics below).

On their resignation/retirement, an employee’s years of service can be recognised in a number of ways, including a statement of service issued by the Department (see below).  School communities and/or principals and managers are encouraged to formally recognise the service and contributions that an employee who retires or resigns has made to their school community or work location and the broader government school system or public service.

Cessation at the instigation of the employer

The employer may terminate the employment of an employee in the following circumstances:

  • retrenchment (see the Managing Excess Employees topic under Related Topics below), 
  • annulment (see the Probation topic below under Related Topics) 
  • following an inquiry into fitness for duty (see the Fitness for Duty topic under Related Topics below)
  • due to unsatisfactory performance or misconduct (see Complaints, Unsatisfactory Performance and Misconduct topic under related topics below).

Termination of employment will be in accordance with the applicable Department policy guidelines. 

Under the Fair Work Act 2009 an employee cannot have his/her employment terminated for a prohibited reason (further information is available from the Fair Work Ombudsman (http://www.fairwork.gov.au/employment/fair-work-information-statement/pages/default.aspx)).

Where the employment of an employee is terminated the employee must be provided with the following minimum period of notice in writing:

Teaching service employees

Employees in the teaching service must be provided with at least four weeks' notice of termination.

The notice of termination is increased by one week if the employee is over 45 years of age and has completed at least two years' continuous service with the Department.

Public service employees

Employee's period of continuous service with the employer​ ​Period of Notice
Not more than 3 years ​At least 2 weeks
​More than 3 years ​At least 4 weeks

 If the employee is over forty-five years old and has completed at least two years of continuous service the period of notice should be increased by one week.

Where an Executive Officer's employment is terminated, the Executive Officer will be provided with a minimum notice period of 4 months.

Where the required period of notice is not provided or the employee is not required to work the notice period that period must be paid in lieu of notice.  Payment in lieu of notice will be calculated based on the amount the employee would have received had they worked during the notice period.

The Fair Work Act 2009 provides for a review mechanism for a person who considers their employment has been terminated unfairly. The person is able to lodge an application with the Fair Work Commission for relief in relation to termination of employment on the grounds that the termination was harsh, unjust or unreasonable.  For further information refer to the Fair Work Commission

Cessation due to the operation of a law

An employee’s employment may be terminated due to the operation of a law in the following circumstances:

  • as a result of the employee abandoning their employment (see the Absent without Leave topic under Related Topics)
  • where the employee ceases to be registered or have permission to teach in accordance with the provisions of Part 2.6 of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 
  • where the employee ceases to hold a valid Working With Children Check where one is required.

Payment in lieu of entitlements

On cessation of employment (including the expiration of a fixed period of employment) an employee is entitled to payment in lieu of long service leave, annual leave (including additional paid leave for education support class employees) and annual salary loading allowance as set out below:

Long Service Leave

An employee who ceases employment with at least seven years’ service will be paid in lieu of their accrued long service leave entitlement.  If the cessation is as a result of age or ill health which is deemed to be permanent, payment in lieu of long service leave entitlement is made after four years' service.

If the employment of a public service employee is terminated by the Department payment in lieu of long service leave entitlement is made after four years' service except where the termination is the result of serious misconduct or cessation for personal reasons by the employee.

An employee who does not wish to be paid their long service leave entitlement on cessation should complete and submit the Long Service Leave Election form (see below under Procedures and Forms).

There is no facility available for a person to repay to the Department any leave or other entitlements which have been paid on termination.

Where an employee with at least four years' service dies, payment in lieu of unused long service leave will be made to the employee’s personal legal representative.

Annual leave and annual salary loading allowance

A public service or education support class employee who ceases employment will be paid in lieu of their unused annual leave and loading allowance.

Employees in the teaching service (other than education support class employees) are not paid in lieu of annual leave or salary loading allowance on ceasing employment. Provided that where the cessation is as a result of age or ill health the employee is paid in lieu of any unpaid salary loading allowance.

Where an employee dies, any payment in lieu of annual leave or loading allowance will be made to the employee’s personal legal representative.

For the purposes of determining an employee’s entitlement to payment in lieu, an employee is deemed to have ceased:

  • on account of age – if on or after attaining the age of 55 years they cease to be employed; 
  • on account of ill health – if they produce to the delegate satisfactory evidence that their ceasing to be employed is due to ill health which is likely to be permanent.

Statement of Service

An employee or former employee may request a statement of service from the Department or a school council as evidence of their employment.

School-based employees should submit their request for a statement of service to their current school or last school if no longer employed and public service employees should submit their request to Corporate People Services.

Additional information

The Department holds corporate membership with National Seniors Australia which entitles employees to attend free pre-retirement planning seminars and access to financial and other advice (see below under Useful Links)

Prior to ceasing employment, an employee is encouraged to contact their superannuation fund for advice about their entitlements, particularly where it is likely that the employee will cease employment on the grounds of ill health.

Employment separation certificates are required by Centrelink to determine eligibility for various benefits.  If a former employee requests a certificate, the employer must provide it (see below under Useful Links).

Other Resources

Policy & Guidelines

  • Employment Limitation Policy - last updated 21 December 2022
    (PDF)   (WORD

Procedures & Forms 

  • Notification to resign or cease employment  (WORD
  • Cessation of employment administration procedures  (WORD
  • Death of an employee administration procedures  (WORD
  • Long Service Leave Election form  (WORD) - for an employee to request that long service leave not be paid on cessation of employment 


 Related Topics

Useful Links


Contact Information