Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

We help Victorians with their legal problems and represent those who need it most. Find legal answers, chat with us online, or call us. You can speak to us in English or ask for an interpreter. You can also find more legal information at www.legalaid.vic.gov.au

COVID-19 and delaying starting your new job

Learn what to do if your employer wants to delay you starting your new job because of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

If your employer wants to delay you starting your new job because of COVID-19 coronavirus, there are four things you need to know:

  • you can agree or not agree to changing the date your job starts
  • if you do not agree, your new employer may have to pay you from the date you were supposed to start work
  • your rights and choices depend on your situation
  • if you are not sure about your rights, you can get legal advice. See Other support for COVID-19 coronavirus.

Do I have to agree to starting work later?

You can agree to your job starting later. This changes your employment contract to start on the new date.

You can decide not to agree to a later start date. If you do not agree, your employer might:

  • accept your choice and continue your employment
  • terminate (end) your employment before you start.

If your job is terminated, your employer might have to pay you for the notice period in your contract, award or under the National Employment Standards. The notice period is the amount of time you normally must keep working if you resign or get fired. Depending on your situation, this could be a week, two weeks, a month, or another amount of time.

Will I be paid?

Your employer might have to pay you, depending on your situation.

You should be paid from the date you were supposed to start if all the following apply:

  • you have an agreement with your employer about when your job starts. This includes a written or spoken agreement
  • you are employed as a permanent employee (full-time or part-time)
  • you have not agreed to start work later
  • you are healthy and able to work, but your employer has directed you not to start work
  • your employer has not terminated (ended) your job before you start.

You can write to your employer and ask them to pay you from your start date. You should not be treated badly or lose your job because you ask to be paid. If this happens, or your employer refuses to pay you, get legal advice. See Other support.

What if my new job is casual?

If you are a casual employee, your new employer can delay your start date.

Your employer does not have to pay you until you actually start work.

I need help with money

If you lose some or all of your income because of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in limited circumstances you may be able to get help from the government. See the Victorian government’s Financial and other support for COVID-19 and Services Australia (Centrelink) If you need a payment.

More information

Learn where to get help with the COVID-19 coronavirus

Read our page on Employment.

Fair Work Ombudsman Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws


We acknowledge and thank JobWatch for allowing us to use their COVID-19: Employment rights Q&A to prepare this information, and for reviewing this information and providing updates.

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