Changing jobs – What you need to know

You’ve got a new job! Congratulations!

There’s just a couple of things you need to do before you can start…

Tell your current employer you are leaving!

It can, on occasion, be quite satisfying to hand in your notice. Other times it can be quite sad. As an employee you should remain professional and not burn bridges as the world can be quite small when you don’t want it to be. You might just come across the employer/manager again in the future.

To remain professional, you should give your employer a written letter of resignation with the required notice period or alternatively contact them to notify them you are considering resignation and negotiate a notice period before putting your resignation in writing.

Also, it is worth noting that it is not advisable to give your current employer notice until you have signed, and are happy with, your new contract of employment.

What is my notice period?

The amount of notice you need to give your employer is dependent on the Agreement or Award you work under, along with also your classification (full time, part time or casual) and your length of service.

It is important that you check this to ensure that you are giving the correct amount of notice so that you are not losing money. Some Agreements/Awards state that if an employee fails to give correct notice the employer may take payment in lieu of notice i.e. withholding pay for the period you have failed to provide notice.

Keep a copy of your letter of resignation

Be sure to keep a copy of any letters you give your employer. You should also mark on your copy the name of the manager you handed the letter of resignation to, and what date it was provided to them.

Check your payslips

You should always check your payslips, especially when you are leaving as you want to ensure that you receive any leave entitlements you are owed are correctly paid out.

It is advisable to contact the SDA office so we can help you to check these figures and your eligibility for payments. In some cases, Long Service Leave may be payable and you may want to check your eligibility for leave loading and payment for TOIL etc.

Join the Union

If you are starting a new job, be sure to join the relevant union. Your Union membership does not follow you when you change jobs.

If you are still working in the retail, fast food or warehousing industries then the SDA is the right union for you. If, however, you are changing industries then you will likely have to join another union which looks after that industry.

It is important that you have a union to support you in your new role. You never know when you might need help. Please contact the SDA office when you are changing jobs so that we can advise the correct union for you. If that union is the SDA our staff will ensure we have the correct paperwork so that we can continue to support you in your new workplace.

Check your new contract

Ensure that you read the contract of employment your new employer offers you. It may contain nasty surprises that you didn’t expect. You don’t want to find these out after you have already given your old employer your resignation or started your new job. How embarrassing to have to take it all back!

Key areas to focus on in the contract of employment are:

  • Is the role full-time, part-time or casual?
  • How many hours are you being offered? Casuals are generally not ‘guaranteed’ any hours so keep this in mind. If you are guaranteed casual hours then is this in writing?
  • Is there an offer to go part time or full time in the future? If so, then is this in writing?
  • What industrial instrument covers you? Is it an Enterprise Agreement or Award?
  • What is your rate of pay?
  • What is your job description?
  • Do you have a probationary period? If so, how long is it? Are you on an introductory pay rate during probation?


Make sure you complete your Superannuation Fund Nomination Form with your new employer. Also, be cautious about opening new superannuation accounts unless you plan on changing funds. Having several super accounts could mean multiple fees and charges which can reduce your overall super balance. In this case you may wish to consolidate your super.

By registering with the Australian Tax Office (’ATO’) you can:

  • see details of all your super accounts, including any you may have lost or forgotten about
  • find ATO-held super, held on your behalf when your super fund, your employer or the government cannot find an account to deposit your super in to
  • consolidate your super into a single fund.

When leaving your employer, you should also check that all your super contributions from your previous employer have been made. You can do this by contacting your super fund and requesting a statement which will show what payments have been made and for what period, then compare these to your payslips. Any discrepancies will need to be followed up with your employer.

Do you have two jobs?

When completing the Tax File Number Declaration Form make sure you tick the right boxes. If you have more than one job you will need the choose which job you receive the tax-free threshold. If you only have one job then tick ‘Yes’.

Good luck in your new job!

Should you have any questions about starting your new job, contact the SDA’s Information Helpline  on 1300 SDA HELP (1300 732 4357) or by email  






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