Issue with Previous Employer about Notice Period

So long story short, I have been offered a position at a new company which I start in 2 weeks time. The contract has been signed and it is a done deal. My new employer advised that I do not provide notice until the contract is completed just in case (which makes sense).

I have only been at my current employer for less than a year (10 months to be exact), according to Fair Work Australia I am only obliged to give 1 weeks notice. When I provide my employer with the notice, it was the usual spiel, "Sad to see you go", "Let us know if there's anything we can do to help", "Let me know if you would like a written reference" etc.

I am followed the next day with an email stating that I should have given 2 weeks of notice, that he "would appreciate it if you could request a later starting date from XXXX(new company)". In addition he stated that "I know management there(new company) and I have friends who use their product" almost as if it is a threat.

As Fair Work is not open until Monday, I was wondering if anyone would have any idea where I would stand in this situation? I have already signed the contract to start next in 2 weeks times, I also do not want to start off on the wrong foot. I have emailed my new employer and am waiting on a response.

Thanks for your time.

EDIT: The contract clearly stated that 1 weeks notice is all that is required for less than 1 years employment.


  • +6

    Tell your current employer that due to the length of employment, you are only required to give a week's notice. Not that hard?

    Edit - assuming that you haven't agreed to a longer period when you were employed by current employer, though I'm sure you would know if you did.

    • +1

      I have mentioned to my current employer that both Fair Work and my contract clearly states 1 week. I was wondering if the follow up email I should be received as a threat and if I should report it Fair Work or another relevant body.

      • +16

        It's impossible to prove it's a threat. Do your week, move on. No need to make thing harder.

  • +1

    What does your contract say with previous employer

    • 1 week for less than 12 months.

    • +2

      This. Ask them to show you where it says that you need to give 2 weeks notice as you believe it only needs to be 1 week

    • This, your contract can change the required notice period. Of course, they can't force you to stay.

  • +3

    Why don't you just show them a photo of the current employment contract condition which states 1 week's termination notice if employed for less than a year?

    Your current employment will be terminated in 1 week anyhow. They could try and force you to pay the second week due to the "lack of notice" but they might not. The law will be on your side if they do try. That's when you take it to FairWork.

  • +2

    If your current employer continues to try to enforce their own ruling just go to a GP and get a certificate for a week off due to stress.

    • That is big brain thinking right there.

      • +2

        Plus you can use up any remaining sick leave, it's the ozbargain way to do things.

        • You guys have done this before! Thanks.

    • Work for a company for 10 years
      Take all your remaining sick leave at 9.5 years
      Take Long service leave and 2 years± of holidays
      Move to a country for a year where can live on less than half your salary easily
      Take a year off and get a glimpse of how retirement will be what you can do if what you want u want if had free time…

  • +3

    Save that email. If it's a work email address, forward it to personal. Just in case….

    • Even better, copy your whole Outlook file just in case it turns nasty. And dont tell anyone!

      • Even better, upload it to the web without any encryption, just incase it gets nastier. Tell everyone!

  • +3

    Depending on what industry your in, never burn your bridges….

    • +7

      That's not burning bridges, that's someone in HR or a single manager being an idiot. The contract is clear, OP is doing nothing wrong. I've left on terms like that before (gave them very little notice because of the circumstances, but within my contract) and while it annoys some people it's not the end of the world.

      If they try push it further once OP replies to them then they're not worth working for anyway.

  • Do you need the relationship or referee down the track? If so, try and do the extra week (not for their sake, but for yours).

    Otherwise, as everyone mentioned above, do your 1 week as per contract and enjoy your new role.

  • +1

    What did your current employment contract say when you asked it? And really, do they want to keep a pissed off worker over a weeks notice discrepancy? How hard are you going to work that extra week? I would just call in sick. They are just trying to make it difficult for you to leave and making it hard in the hope your new employer won’t accept your new start date and you might stay. Heaven forbid if they counter offered better pay/conditions/promotion.

    Just hand whatever notice you can and leave. What’s the worst they can do… dock your pay for the outstanding week?

  • "I know management there"

    Went for a job once but didn't get it.

    "I have friends who use their product"

    New job is at viagra.

  • +7

    One week is all that's legally required. But…

    Rather than interpreting his "I have friends there" as a threat perhaps it could have been an offer to smooth things over with the new job. If the new company works with the old company on any projects there's no harm and in telling the new one "hey legally I only have to give 1 weeks notice but old company has asked we give them 2 weeks (which would prevent me starting on date xxx). would you prefer I delay my start with you to assist old company with a handover, or commence with you on xxx?"

    Let them choose, you've only followed the law and their request to not give notice until contract was finalised…

    • I like this approach

    • That's excellent advice. Shows the new company that you're willing to help out the old one even though you won't get anything out of it.

  • +2

    I've never had an issue negotiating a start time for a new job.

    Employers know they have to be flexible. Only on Friday I was talking to a friend that had to give 3 months notice (senior research analyst). Their new employer fully understood.

    You need to communicate with both the old and new employer and come up with a mutually agreeable compromise.

  • -2

    Use your sickies, start late finish early, put off tasks, pinch stationery, get your bosses AD account and enter wrong passwords to force lock out, use his work email address and register sites for spam….. obviously, if u need a referee later on, think twice…. And do it on someone else’s machine you didn’t like.

  • +1

    Rookie error.
    Your contract might say 1 weeks notice but you shouldn’t burn bridges and 2 weeks is way more standard. You should not agree to a start date with certainty until you have confirmed with your company the exit date. Usually your convo should be along the lines of “I expect to be able to start either x week or y week but I will need to confirm the final day at my current employment first”,

  • Who cares, you gave notice…. if they request an extra week, you take a week off on sick leave

  • May be unknowingly u will be visiting a covid exposure site before ur 2nd week starts.

  • Decent managers and employers will always want to see people better their careers but it is always a hassle for them to have to recruit. If you can try to leave on good terms as it can come back to bite. Some industry sectors are tighter than others and news travels both accurate and inaccurate.