VIC Ending Employment Contract Before End Date - Legal under Employment Law?

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3 September 2015

I need to end my 12 months employment contract before it's end date. The employment contract says I should give 4 weeks notice but I need to leave urgently as a member of my family is in intensive care at the hospital. Ideally would like to resign and leave the same day without being sued by my employer. Anyway I can legally under employment law get out of my contract?



Well-Known Member
16 July 2014
Hi Tommy
I am sorry to hear about your family member. The answer to your question will come down to the precise wording in your employment contract.

Generally speaking though, a notice period is inserted in a contract to protect the rights of both the employer and the employee. From the employer's side, they're obviously protecting the interests of their business and the impact on their business if an employee were to leave without sufficient notice and without sufficient time for a replacement to be trained. If an employer were to take legal action for an employee not giving the agreed notice (and generally, they will be legally entitled to do this), then they may make a claim for damages for losses suffered.

Often the best way to approach these situations is to try to reach an agreement direct with your employer. Just because there is a set notice period in your contract, doesn't mean both parties cant agree to amend this period. You might consider taking a very practical approach here and explaining your situation direct to your employer and see if you can agree on a different notice period. This will also avoid any issues that may arise out of leaving employment on a bad note, and the risk of getting bad reference etc.

If you would like more specific advice on the actual wording of your contract and the type of damages you could be facing if sued I would recommend speaking with the Fairwork Ombudsman (Contact us - Fair Work Ombudsman) or an employment lawyer (Get Connected with the Right Lawyer for You).

All the best.