On or after last day of employment

The employer and employee both have tasks to complete on the last day of employment.

Employee and employer responsibilities

                                              What you should know
If you are an employee If you are an employer

You can ask your employer for a statement of service, which will normally include the position you held, the length of your service, and your reasons for leaving.

Consider how best to recognise an employee’s service, and what the employee would be comfortable with.                                                    

You can also ask for a reference – but your employer does not have to provide one.

The employee may ask you to provide a statement of service, and a reference.

Remember to return any company property you have, before you leave.

You are not required to provide a reference, but if you do, it must be truthful.

If appropriate, set up ‘out-of-office’ messages, and an auto-forward for emails.

You’ll need to arrange the return of any company property and cancel access to your IT systems.

You should receive your final pay on your last day, or as soon as possible, and not later than the next scheduled payday.

While not required to, you may wish to conduct an exit interview. This can provide useful information.

Check your employment contract, as you may have agreed terms that continue beyond employment, such as ‘restraint of trade’, confidentiality, or intellectual property.

An employee’s final payment must be made on their last day, or no later than the next scheduled payday.                                                                                                    


Once the employee has left, you’ll need to update your records.

Recognition of service

An employer can recognise the employee’s service in many ways such as by organising a farewell event or morning tea. Employers may provide a certificate or statement of service as a record of the employee’s start date and leaving date.

  • Employers should provide this if the employee asks them to.
  • Employers can also choose to state the positions the employee had and their reason for leaving, for example, resignation in the certificate.

Starting-out wage rate employees

Employees who are 18 and 19 years old, who have been paid one or more social security benefits for 6 months or more and are being paid the starting-out , should always ask for a statement of service.

The certificate should state how long they’ve worked for the employer so the new employer can work out the date they will need to be paid (at least) the adult minimum wage.


An employee may ask their employer to provide a reference for them. This can be verbal or written. An employer does not have to provide a reference, but if they choose to, it must be truthful.

If an employer provides a dishonest reference, they may damage their organisation’s reputation and their own reputation.

Collecting company property

Employers should ensure they have collected all of their property at the end of the employee’s last day at work, or immediately after if it cannot be returned on that day (for example, uniforms).

This could include property such as a vehicle, computers, phones, company files and manuals, tools, uniforms, credit and charge cards, taxi chits, ID cards and building access codes.

IT systems

When an employee leaves, the employer may need to review or cancel access to company systems, emails, or distribution lists. They may want to consider auto-forwarding incoming communications or out-of-office replies.

Exit interview

While not required, exit interviews can provide parties with valuable information. An exit interview can be done before or after an employee leaves the organisation and can cover topics such as the reason for leaving, working conditions and culture, and suggestions for improvements.

Final pay

The employer must pay the departing employee their final pay either:

  • on their last day, or
  • as soon as possible and not later than the next scheduled payday.

Final pay

Updating records

Once an employee has left, the employer will need to:

  • make sure this is reflected in their records; the file should be updated with the amount of final pay, including holiday pay and then the employer can then archive the employee’s file
  • keep wage and time records, and holiday and leave records that comply with the legislation for at least 6 years and, in particular, be able to show they have complied with all minimum employment entitlements, such as the minimum wage and annual holidays
  • retain wage records, such as PAYE information (for 7 years), student loan deductions and superannuation contributions, as required by law.

Keeping records

Relevance of employee information after employment ends

In addition to the information required to be kept by law – such as wage and time records, holiday and leave records, PAYE – employers may need to keep some other information after employees have left – for example, details about performance, if the employer will need it to provide a reference. However, only relevant information should be kept.

The basic rule for other employee information is that once the employer no longer needs the information it should not be kept and instead, it is best to securely destroy the information about 6 months after employment has ended.

Employee privacy

If the employer is in a dispute with an employee, they need to keep all relevant information for as long as it takes to resolve the dispute. There are specific expectations for employers in the public sector when recruiting employees, including disclosing serious misconduct if asked by a potential employer.

Workforce Assurance Model Standards - The Public Service Commission(external link)


Ongoing employee obligations

Even after an employee has left their job, there may be ongoing obligations in relation to their former employer, such as , confidentiality requirements, or protection of intellectual property. Employees should check their for any such obligations.

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