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Job Quitting Etiquette: How to Quit Your Job in New Zealand

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Good Practice for Quitting Your Job in New Zealand

Hiring a marching band and a barbershop quartet singing “I QUIT!” while you strut your way out of the door of your workplace is a dream we all have at some point during our lives. But, unfortunately, your working holiday in New Zealand is not the place to do that. Damn.

In New Zealand, we end our employment respectfully to better our chances in future job applications, to avoid any awkwardness, and to not be a complete d*ck to our bosses. Whether you are just coming to the end of your employment contract naturally or quitting your job early, we’ll show you how to quit your job in New Zealand. Giving the correct notice period and crafting yourself a resignation letter is a must.

Additionally, in whatever circumstances you quit your job, there are a few measures you should take towards the end of your employment in order to get a boost in your wages with holiday pay and to be able to claim your taxes back from this job.

Before You Accept a Job Offer

What makes it easier to quit a job? Being truthful about your intentions from the beginning. If you plan to leave a job a month earlier than the period the employer is offering, then tell them. Employers hiring working holidaymakers in New Zealand understand that visas run out, travel plans are made, etc. But it is only fair for you to let them know your intentions before you accept the job.

The period you are expecting to work should be stated in the employment contract, which you receive when you get a job offer. The employment contract should outline the start and end date of the employment or state that the employment is open-ended (i.e. there is no end date). There will also be a few clauses about ending your employment, which we will go through in the section below.For more information, see New Zealand Working Holiday Employment Rights.

 Bhumi Finding Herself on Flickr© Bhumi Finding Herself on Flickr

How to End Your Employment Contract Early

Even if you have signed into an employment contract with an end date, you still have the right to resign at any time with reasonable notice. The reasonable notice period should be outlined in your employment contract. From this point, three scenarios can happen:

  • You work for the notice period, continuing to be paid and work as normal.
  • Your employer allows you to stop working before your notice period, but they must continue to pay you as normal until the end of the notice period.
  • Your boss can fire you if the reason is justified (e.g. you stop going to work or start acting like a d*ck), then they do not have to continue paying you.

In fairness to your employer, try to give your notice as early as possible so that they are able to find a replacement for you. If possible, it’s good practice to tell your boss in person that you wish to leave the job and follow up by handing in a “resignation letter”. For legal reasons, you need to state your resignation in writing (see below).

pxhere© pxhere

How to Write a Resignation Letter

A resignation letter is mandatory for your employer to end your employment contract. The information the letter must include:

  • Your name
  • Your job role
  • That you wish to resign
  • The last day that you will work.

No matter what context you are ending your employment, you should write your resignation letter in a positive manner. This will help you end the job on good terms and may even get you a reference for future job applications.

To keep your resignation positive, thank the employer for the opportunity and mention some things you have gained from the experience. You can even mention what you are going to after the employment has ended, such as, pursue further travel or move onto another job role elsewhere in a different field, for instance.

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Things to Remember When Ending a Job

Whether you have quit your job or just reached the end date of your employment contract, there are a few things to make sure you get for some extra money and to do to benefit you in future job applications.

Firstly, ask for a reference letter. A letter from your employer about how awesome you are is always a good asset to include in job applications! If you had a good relationship with your employer, don’t miss the opportunity to grab a quick reference letter from them.

By law, in your last payslip, you should receive any holiday pay owed to you. This is always a welcome boost to your last payslip. On that note, be sure to keep this final payslip in your records to claim your tax refund once the financial year (between 1-April and 31-March) has finished! Find out more in our guide How to Get Your Tax Refund in New Zealand or see if you can apply for the refund now at taxback.com.

Now That You Have Quit Your Job in New Zealand …

… Read these articles so you can boss more situations on your working holiday!


Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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