Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is reasonable notice when a contract of employment is terminated?

In ascertaining whether notice is reasonable is often a question of fact, as was highlighted in Rogan-Gardiner v Woolworths Ltd [2012] WASCA: “The length of the required notice in any case is a question of fact to be decided in the light of the objective circumstances as they exist at the time the notice is, or should have been, given.”

The primary purpose of notice is to provide the employer and employee the opportunity to make the appropriate adjustments, as was stated by the Western Australian Supreme Court of Appeal in Rogan-Gardiner:

“The object of a term requiring the giving of reasonable notice to terminate a contract at will was described by the Privy Council in Australian Blue Metal Ltd v Hughes [1963] AC 74, in the context of a commercial agreement, as follows:

The implication of reasonable notice is intended to serve only the common purpose of the parties. Whether there need be any notice at all, and, if so, the common purpose for which it is required, are matters to be determined as at the date of the contract; the reasonable time for the fulfilment of the purpose is a matter to be determined as at the date of the notice. The common purpose is frequently derived from the desire that both parties may be expected to have to cushion themselves against sudden change, giving themselves time to make alternative arrangements of a sort similar to those which are being terminated.”

However, a number of decisions in case law has stated that reasonable notice is dependent on the facts of each individual case, rather than set rules of what constitutes reasonable notice.


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