Workers in hard hats at a meeting

Facing retrenchment can be a difficult time. Understanding the process and knowing that you have options for your future can help.

Understanding the process

Help with understanding your entitlements

Check with the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Notice of termination

Your employer must give you a written notice of termination, which will tell you the day you will finish work. Your period of notice, or how long until you finish, will depend on how long you have been with the business.

Finishing work before the end of the notice period

If your employer wants you to stop working before the end of the notice period, they must pay you a ‘payment in lieu of notice’. This means they pay you to finish early.

Your pay must be equal to, or more than, the amount you would have received if you had worked until the end of the notice period. This must include any common extras in your pay. These extras might be bonuses and other incentive-based payments, loadings, allowances, overtime, penalty rates and any other extras.

Notice of termination or payment in lieu does not apply if you are:

  • casual
  • employed for a specified period of time, task or season (e.g. a fixed term contractor or a seasonal fruit picker)
  • fired because of serious misconduct (theft, fraud, etc.)
  • a trainee employed for a set period of time or for the length of the training arrangement
  • a daily-hire employee working in the building and construction industry, meat industry or livestock slaughter within the meat industry.

If you are unsure about your entitlements contact the Fair Work Ombudsman.


The amount you will be paid depends on many factors – such as how long you have worked for the employer, your contract, if you have any unpaid leave and the type of industry you work in.

Employment Separation Certificate

Depending on your circumstances, Centrelink may provide financial assistance after you lose your job. If you are interested, you need to request an Employment Separation Certificate from your employer. You will need to present this document to claim support payments.

Working out your options

Here are some options you can consider when facing retrenchment:

  • Retraining in a new field or gaining more skills can improve your chances of finding new work.
  • When looking for a new job it’s important to be aware of your skills and have some understanding of the local market. A personalised employment service can help you get job-ready and find new work.
  • You may consider starting your own business. This can be complicated, so it’s best to get professional information and support.
  • You may consider retirement after you have been retrenched. Retirement planning is important. Take some time to think about your financial future.

For help and support see the list of online resources and organisations.