Can an employer end a contract early?

Employment contracts can be terminated by either the employer or the employee, but there are certain legal requirements and procedures that must be followed. Employment laws and regulations in Australia provide rights and protections for both employers and employees.

Employers can end a contract early under various circumstances, such as:

Termination with notice

Employers can terminate an employment contract by providing the employee with notice or payment in lieu of notice. The notice period is typically outlined in the employment contract or determined by relevant legislation, awards, or enterprise agreements.

Termination for cause

Employers can terminate an employee's contract immediately and without notice if there is a valid reason, such as serious misconduct or a serious breach of the employment contract.


Employers may end a contract due to genuine redundancy. In such cases, the employer must follow specific procedures, including consultation with the employee and, in some cases, offering alternative employment if available.

Fixed-term contracts

If the employment contract is for a fixed term, it may end upon the completion of the specified term without the need for notice. However, termination provisions in fixed-term contracts should be clearly outlined.

It's important for employers to be aware of and comply with relevant employment laws, including the Fair Work Act 2009, awards, and any applicable enterprise agreements. Failing to adhere to these legal requirements may result in legal consequences for the employer.

Employees also have rights, and if they believe their contract has been terminated unfairly, they may be able to seek recourse through avenues such as unfair dismissal claims.

It's recommended for both employers and employees to seek legal advice if they have questions or concerns about employment contracts and termination procedures to ensure compliance with Australian employment laws. Keep in mind that employment laws and regulations can be subject to change, so it's advisable to consult the latest information or legal advice.

To learn more about employment contracts, click the button below to read our article on whether employment contracts are legally binding.

Can an employer end a contract early?

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