I have been offered an employment contract in Australia for three years on a temporary 457 visa. I am a United States citizen.

The contract is governed by an enterprise agreement worked out between a union and the institution (a University).

The contract states :

I am pleased to offer you a full-time fixed term appointment to the position of [omitted]...The appointment will be effective from 1 February 2016 and cease on 31 January 2019. This offer is subject to the satisfactory completion of a probation period for 12 months.

Nowhere in the actual offer document, or in the enterprise agreement between the University and the union does it state procedures for resignation/termination. The only language about resignation/termination is related to severance pay.

What is the standard procedure and caveats for quitting/resigning when in an employment contract in Australia?

For instance, my offer also has the following :

Although this appointment is with [a dept], the University reserves the right to transfer you to another position, which may include relocation, consistent with your contract of employment and within the scope of your employment.

In general, in Australia, when an employee is in an enterprise type fixed term employment contract, can the employee leave at will with the proper notice?

For all the people voting to close, enterprise agreements and employment contracts are very common in Australia, so this isn't a narrow question.

In the US, an employment contract must have a clause which states what the penalties are for a breach, otherwise there are no penalties and no legal force to require an employee to remain in the contract.

In response to the close votes

  • Enterprise employment agreements are very, very common in Australia
  • Employment contracts are very, very common in Australia so this question is not about a specific company, it is about employment, generally, in Australia.
  • 2
    I think you will really need to talk to a lawyer, if you can one who specialises in Australian 457 Visa laws. I'm Australian and I can't even begin to answer how the 457 Visa impacts on your contract and residency status.
    – Jane S
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 4:52
  • @JaneS Temporary residents are afforded all the legal rights of normal residents, the Visa part isn't all that relevant. If you signed a 3 year employment contract, would you be allowed to resign prior to the contract end, giving the required notice of course?
    – daaxix
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 5:03
  • 1
    In the context of a normal contract, yes you can normally terminate the contract by giving the prerequisite notice period. Note that you need to check for any financial penalties. If they are not explicitly defined in your contract then I would say they would not apply. Again, I'm not a lawyer and my industry may be different, so I really do suggest talking to a lawyer first.
    – Jane S
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 5:12
  • 1
    You will need a lawyer to give you legal advice about your contract. That is not something we can answer for you here. Commented May 1, 2015 at 13:52
  • 1
    meta discussion here : meta.workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/3145/…
    – daaxix
    Commented May 4, 2015 at 0:49


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