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The time between when you hand in your resignation and when you finish up at an organisation is called the ‘notice period’. The notice period you give is determined by federal legislation, your employment type and the contract you have signed with your employer. 

How much does it vary?

Most people consider a four-week notice period to be the generally accepted standard. This is true, however there is a vast array of agreements that fall outside of this, such as:


Casual employees do not have to give notice to their employer when quitting. In most instances the same applies for employers, because under the Fair Work Act, there is no requirement to provide notice when terminating a casual employee. However, the terms contained within the industry-applicable award or employment contract may provide for notice period requirements.

Standard contract

A four-week notice period has become the norm but under federal legislation the general standard notice period is just two weeks. There are still a number of contracts that only specify a two-week notice period.

Long service

Some contracts specify an accumulating amount of notice period that the employee is required to give as the years of their employment build up.

Unusual contract 

There are other times when the terms of your agreement require that you give long notice periods at the outset. We had a candidate who was required to give three months’ notice to an employer he’d been with less than two years.
Given how different these required notice periods are, it’s a good idea to check the terms of your agreement with your organisation. If you have any concerns, you can find more information on the legislation here.

Why notice periods are also in the best interest of employees…

Even if you’re not required by the terms of your agreement to give a notice period, or you aren’t required to give much notice, here are some reasons why it’s in your best interest to offer to provide notice anyway:

  • It’s professional
  • It helps your reputation
  • You’re more likely to get a good reference

If you are required to work through a stipulated notice period, then it’s obviously to your advantage to adhere to it for the above reasons, but even more so because if you don’t you risk the company taking legal action against you and/or they may not pay you. You will also be unlikely to get a professional reference.