Resigning and quitting
You need to know your rights and entitlements. You also need to think about how the way you handle your resignation might affect your future job prospects.
Topics on this page include:
People resign or quit for lots of different reasons. Some reasons for leaving your job might include:
- Not being happy with the job you have
- Feeling unsafe at work
- Not being paid enough
- Being offered another job somewhere else
- Going on to do fulltime study
- Leaving town to travel
If you're thinking of leaving your job it's a good idea to weigh up your options. If you're leaving because of a situation at work, there might be something you can do to change that situation instead of simply quitting.
If you're thinking of quitting because you feel unsafe or you're being bullied, you could try talking to someone about making things safer or doing something about the bullying. Check out our Problems in the Workplace pages for more about what you can do about things like bullying, violence, safety and discrimination.
If you're thinking of quitting because you don't think you're being paid enough, you could try talking to someone about your pay first. Check out our Getting Paid the Right Amount page for more info about minimum wages.
"Giving notice" means telling your employer ahead of time that you plan to stop working for them.
Giving notice is a good idea for a few reasons:
- You'll be able to work for a little bit longer so you can pay the bills while looking for a new job
- It gives your employer some time to find someone to replace you
- You'll leave the job on good terms and be able ask your employer for help in the future (e.g., use them as a referee)
When you want to resign, you have to give your employer the correct amount of notice. If you don't give the right amount of notice when you resign, your employer may be allowed to withhold money or entitlements from you.
They might be able to only pay you for some (or none) of the time you've already worked. They might not have to pay you for any leave you might have earned but not yet taken.
The amount of notice you have to give might be specified in your contract (if you have one). If you don't have a contract, the amount of notice required is usually equal to your pay period. For example, if you're paid fortnightly, you should give a fortnight's notice.
If you're not sure how much notice you have to give, get in touch with one of the organisations listed at the bottom of this article.
Your employer doesn't have to let you work during the notice period, but they do have to pay you what you would normally have been paid in the time for which you gave notice. For example, if you gave two weeks' notice they would have to pay you for two weeks' work at the end of those two weeks.
You may be tempted to make a big fuss about your resignation. Maybe you're planning to just stop showing up for work.
Don't give in to that temptation. It's important not to give your employer any reason to not pay you what they owe you. It's also important to think about your future job prospects.
If you end things badly your former employer is probably not going to say good things about you if someone asks. If you end things well (or at least politely) you may be able to ask your former employer for help in the future. They might be able to help you find a new job, or be your referee on a job application.
Your former employer may be the reason you want to quit. Maybe you're leaving because you've been treated badly somehow. But if you resist the urge to behave badly in response (even if they behave badly when you tell them you're leaving) you're more likely to be able to get what you deserve in the long run.
It's a good idea to put your resignation in writing and to keep a copy for yourself so you can prove you gave the correct amount of notice.
For tips on how to write a resignation letter, check out our How to Write a Resignation Letter page.
If you have any concerns about the way your employer behaves after you hand in your resignation, or you just have some questions you'd like answered, check out the organisations listed below in the Links section on this page.
If you've been fired from your job, or made redundant, or you think you've been fired for a reason that is unfair or illegal, you can also speak to these organisations. You should also check out our What to Do if You Get Sacked page or our Unfair Dismissal and Unlawful Termination page for more advice.
Once you've handed in your resignation, if you haven't already got a new job lined up, you may be in the market for one. Check out our How to Find a Job and Applying for Jobs pages for advice on scoring yourself a brand new job.
Job Watch Victoria
Statewide community legal centre specialising offering free and confidential advice for workers in Victoria. Call them on 9662 1933 (Melbourne) or 1800 331 617 (non-Metro).
Fair Work Ombudsman
Advice and help relating to workplace rights and responsibilities. Call them on 13 13 94.
Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)
National organisation working for the rights of the Australian workforce. Call them on 9664 7333.