COVID-19 and delaying starting your new job

COVID-19 and delaying starting your new job

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 Get help with COVID-19.

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 or award. 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.

The government has announced new wage subsidies (payments) to help some employers to keep paying employees. These are called JobKeeper payments. Employers need to register to receive these payments. The payments must be used to pay employees. Payments can be backdated to 30 March 2020. Talk to your new employer to find out if they have registered.

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 you cannot start. For example, because the business has closed temporarily
  • 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 Get help.

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, you may be able to get help from Services Australia (Centrelink).

The government is reviewing and changing programs to provide financial support to people who have lost work. The JobKeeper program will help many employers to keep paying their employees. For up-to-date information, see JobKeeper payments.

More information

Learn where to get help with the COVID-19 coronavirus

Visit our ‘Find legal answers’ page on Employment and your rights

Fair Work Ombudsman Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws

Acknowledgement

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

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