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How Long Should Your Notice Period Be When Resigning? (2019 Update)

How Long Should Your Notice Period Be When Resigning? (2019 Update)

Resigning from your job requires that you provide adequate notice. Read this article to find out how a notice period works and how long it should be.

25th March 2019

The time between resigning from a job and actually leaving can be challenging. Perhaps you have been offered a new job, or simply do not want to continue at your current one. But whatever your circumstances are, this guide will outline what your notice period should be when resigning.

Resigning from your job is never an easy thing to do. However, what happens after this is isn’t always easy either. The time between when you hand in your resignation and actually finish up at your job is a crucial time. Further, you have to ensure that you’re complying with employment laws in providing and working out an adequate notice period.

What is a notice period?

A notice period is the period of time between when an employee resigns and when they actually stop working. In this time, an employee will finalise any outstanding matters and prepare t

A notice period is beneficial to both an employer and employee. This is because gives the employer adequate time to find a replacement for your role. In addition, it gives you time to make any handover preparations.

Not working through your notice period

Sometimes employees do not work out their notice period. This is either due to the preference of the employer or at the employee’s request. If the employer decides that the employee should not work out their notice, they still need to be remunerated. This is in addition to any outstanding annual leave entitlements.

If an employee does not want to work through their notice period, it can be taken as annual leave. However, this can only occur with the consent of the employer. Further, this will be deducted from the annual leave entitlements previously owed. However, it is ill-advised for employee’s to ‘refuse’ to work out their notice period, as this may cause you to ‘burn bridges’ and even risk not receiving a decent reference.

What is the general length of a notice period?

Notice periods can vary anywhere from being ‘no notice’ to a month or more. Your required notice period will depend on:

  • Your type of employment
  • The terms of your contract(if you have one)
  • Your industry
  • Your award

Casual and fixed-term Employees

In terms of casual employment, employers and employees are not obliged to provide notice on termination. Similarly, those employed on a fixed-term contract are not required to provide notice.


Wendy works casually at a local bookstore. She has decided to resign as she wants to go on an extended trip overseas. Wendy does not have to give any notice as casual employment means that employment can be terminated immediately without any notice.

Part time and Full time Employees

The standard rule is that full time and part time employees should provide at least two weeks’ notice. However, this can vary depending on the terms of the employment contract. For example, some employment contracts will require a notice period of four weeks from either the employer or employee (however, this is generally only the case for full time roles).

If you are still in the midst of your probationary period (usually 3 or 6 months), termination of employment usually requires 1 weeks’ notice or no notice at all.

Contract versus legislation

If you’re employed under contract, check the terms of your employment carefully. Employment contracts ordinarily contain the required notice period to give upon termination. The terms of the employment contract will also override the notice period provided under national legislation.


Mark works full time at a financial services firm. He has resigned because he has been offered another job. His employment contract states that he needs to provide 4 weeks’ notice upon resignation. However, the national guidelines state that he only has to give 2 weeks. In this case, Mark is obliged to work out the 4-week notice period in his contract.

If you’re unsure about your obligations, you can find the specific requirements for your industry, employment level or award here.

What action can my employer take if I do not work out my notice period?

If your employer has opted to have you work out your notice period (rather than pay you in lieu of it), not working out your notice will technically be in breach of your contract. The employer then will have the option to deduct the days as part of your annual leave entitlements or choose to deduct final pay. It’s also important to note here that you cannot take paid sick leave during this period.

Notice periods are necessary for both the employer and employee to make the transition into a new work environment as seamless as possible for both parties. When resigning from a role, it’s important that you don’t leave your employer ‘in the lurch’. Further, leaving your job requires preparation from both you and your employer.

Don’t know where to start? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest legal marketplace.

Jackie Olling

Jackie is the Content Manager at Lawpath and manages the content team. She has a Law/Arts (Politics) degree from Macquarie University and is an admitted solicitor in the Supreme Court of NSW. She's interested in how technology can help shape the future legal landscape.