A dismissal does not take effect unless and until it is communicated to the employee who is being dismissed.
An employer must not terminate an employee's employment unless the employer has given the employee written notice of the day of the termination (which cannot be before the day the notice is given).
In certain circumstances a dismissal can be communicated orally. This includes:
Where the communication is in writing only, the communication must be received by the employee in order for the termination to be effective.
A notice of termination which does not comply with s.117 of the Fair Work Act may be effective to bring about the termination of the employment relationship and may constitute ‘notice of the dismissal’ within the meaning of s.383(a)(i) of the Fair Work Act.
A notice of termination may still be valid even if it is stated to take effect subject to a condition, such as a future date, provided that:
Where payment in lieu of notice is made the dismissal usually takes effect immediately.
If an employee is given 4 weeks' notice that they will be dismissed, and they work through the 4 week period – then the date that the dismissal takes effect will generally be at the end of that 4 week notice period.
HOWEVER, if an employee receives 4 weeks' pay in advance in lieu (instead) of working and is NOT required to work through the 4 week notice period – then the date that the dismissal takes effect will generally be the last day worked unless the employer specifies a different date of dismissal.
Note: The example above provides a general guide, however this may not always be the case – issues such as the terms of a contract may affect the date a dismissal takes effect.
In Mihajlovic v Lifeline Macarthur the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission found that an application which is filed prematurely should be considered to be an application which was not made in accordance with s.394(1) of the Fair Work Act 2009. However, that an application is premature does not make the application invalid and of no effect, because the Commission has discretion under the Fair Work Act to:
 Burns v Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia (Inc), Print T3496 (AIRCFB, Williams SDP, Acton SDP, Gregor C, 21 November 2000) at para. 24.
 Fair Work Act s.117(1).
 Fair Work Act s.123.
 Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board v Duggan  FWCFB 4878 (Gostencnik DP, Clancy DP, Saunders C, 25 September 2017) at para. 33.
 See for example Mihajlovic v Lifeline Macarthur  FWC 9804 (Hatcher VP, 16 December 2013); Akee v Link-Up (Queensland) Aboriginal Corporation  FWC 555 (Hatcher VP, 9 February 2015).